Thailand’s Lower House passes bill to legalize same-sex marriage

Do you know that Thailand’s House of Representatives voted to legalized same-sex marriage on Wednesday, bringing the South Asian nation a step closer to becoming the third territory in Asia to guarantee equal marital rights? Yes this is true as we detail more insight to this news below.

Thailand’s Lower House passes bill to legalize same-sex marriage

The lower house of parliament passed the bill following a third and final reading, with 400 representatives voting in favour. Only 10 members opposed the bill.

The bill still requires approval from the country’s Senate and endorsement from the king before marriage equality can become reality in Thailand, a process that could still take months.

If passed into law, Thailand would be the first nation in Southeast Asia to legally recognize same-sex marriage.

In 2013, the Bangkok post said that “while Thailand is viewed as a tourist haven for same-sex couples, the reality for locals is that the law, and often public sentiment, is not so liberal.

It would also make the country the third place in Asia to allow for marriage equality after Taiwan legalized same-sex marriage in 2019 and Nepals in 2023.


“We are now writing a new Thai history that will change Thai society forever,” Plaifah Kyoka Shodladd, a member of the amendment committee told parliament on Wednesday.

“The social situation has change, and it is time that the law should catch up with the current situation.”

The marriage equality bill that passed in the lower house on Wednesday was supported by all the major parties and marks a significant step in cementing the country’s reputation as one of the friendliest in the region towards gay, lesbian and transgender people.

However, the reality, according to some members of the LGBTQ community, is different. They say laws prohibit discrimination, but they still regularly face prejudice and even violence in Thailand’s conservative society.

LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (or queer).

Nada Chaiyajit, an LGBT advocate and a law lecturer at Mae Fah Luang University, said the passing of the bill was a positive step but there were some unresolved issues.

LGBT advocates who were on the parliamentary committee has during Wednesday’s debate pushed unsuccessfully for the terms “father” and “mother” to be changed to the gender-neutral “parent” in references to the family unit, to avoid complications in issues such as adoption.

“I am happy indeed but this isn’t full marriage equality, it is only same-sex marriage,” Nada said.

“The right to marriage has been granted but not the full right to family establishment.

“It is a shame that we didn’t go the full way.”

Changes in attitudes and public towards LGBT issues began to occur in Thailand during the 1990s and, in particular, the early part of the 21st century. In 2015, Thailand enacted a comprehensive anti-discrimination law, which  covered sexual orientation and gender identity. In 2022, a group of bills were introduced in the Thai parliament that would have granted either civil partnerships of full marriage for same-sex couples, but did not reach their final readings before parliament was dissolved for the 2023 elections and consequently elapsed.

In Noverber 2023, the Srettha Thavisin led Cabinet approved a draft marriage bill, which was considered by parliament on 21 Decemeber 2023 along with three similar drafts proposed by opposition parties and the civil sector.

In 2017, Bangkok was named the second-most gay-friendly city in Asia by online housing platform Netspick, after Tel Aviv, Israel, due to its LGBT dating scene, nightlife, openness and safety.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand has launched a global project entitled “Go Thai Be Free”, to encourage LGBTQ+ tourist from around the world and raise its international profile as an LGBTQ+ friendly country.

There were previous attempts to legalized marriage equality over the past decade in the country which all have stalled, but in 2020 the Constitutional Court ruled that Thailand’s current law, which stipulates marriage being between a man and a woman, was constitutional.

Some of the major political parties contesting last year’s election pledge to push marriage equality as part of their campaign, including the progressive Move Forward Party, which won the most seats.

But that party, which had a huge youth following, was unable to form a government when former rivals joined forces to keep it out of office. Both the future of the party and its popular leader Pita Limjaroenrat remain uncertain as they face a slew of prosecutions.

Danuphorn Punnakanta, a spokesperson of the governing Pheu Thai party and president of a committee overseeing the marriage equality bill, said in Parliament that the amendment is for “everyone in Thailand” regardless of their gender, and would not deprive heterosexual couples of any rights.

‘For this law, we would like to return rights to the (LGBTQ+ group). We are not giving them rights. These are fundamental rights that this group of people . . . . has lost, “he said.

Nevertheless Thailand’s Prime Minister Sretths Thavisin, of the Pheu Thai Party, had also promised to bring the marriage equality bill to parliament.

In December, the parliament approved the first reading of four different draft bills on same-sex marriage and tasked a committee to consolidate them into a single draft.

On the news that the bill has been approved, one representative brought a huge rainbow flag into the chamber.

Lastly, the Prime Minister, who struck a deal with more conservative factions to form a government, has also reportedly voiced support for Bangkok’s bid to host World Pride in 2028.

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