Thailand To Be First Southeast Asian Country To Allow Gay Marriage

The Cabinet backed a Civil Partnership Bill and its legal amendments, allowing same-sex couples to register their union.

On Tuesday, deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek announced that the Cabinet had approved the bill, adding that it had yet to be put on a vote in the House of Representatives. Before approval, it was vetted by the State Council, the government’s central legal advisory body.

Ms. Rachada clarified that the Cabinet had previously endorsed the bill, sponsored by the Justice Ministry in 2020, but asked officials to further their investigation to justify its need and receive public comment.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha commented on the Cabinet’s decision, saying that passing the Civil Partnership Bill responded to global changes, particularly sexual diversity and gender equality, fundamental human rights that must be protected under international principles.

The legalization of same-sex marriages and commitment affected existing laws focused on the legally bound family, hampering issues such as property, inheritance, surrogacy, child adoption, and social dimensions.

However, the government has assigned the Justice Ministry to further study the response of all sectors, both public and all religions, to the bill in order to correct possible shortcomings.

According to Gen Prayut, the bill was socially and internationally constructed, defining civil partnerships as couples born with the same gender. It allows civil unions for same-sex couples who are at least 17 years old and have Thai nationality.

Under the Civil Union Bill, civil partners have the same legal rights as married persons regarding personal goods, jointly-held property, and the right to adopt children. In addition, spouses or partners have the same inheritance rights as conventional married couples according to the Civil and Commercial Code in the event that the other dies.

It also prohibits people from marrying if they already have a civil partner, keeping the right to file for divorce if the rule is breached, and ends the right to receive allowances in case of divorce when the receiving party registers another civil union or gets married.