Thailand’s Cabinet Approves a Marriage Equality Bill to Grant Same-Sex Couples Equal Rights

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FILE - Participants hold a rainbow flag during a Pride Parade in Bangkok, Thailand, on June 4, 2023. Thailand’s Cabinet on Tuesday, Nov. 21, approved an amendment to its civil code to allow same-sex marriage, with an expectation for the draft to be submitted to Parliament next month. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit, File)
FILE - Participants hold a rainbow flag during a Pride Parade in Bangkok, Thailand, on June 4, 2023. Thailand’s Cabinet on Tuesday, Nov. 21, approved an amendment to its civil code to allow same-sex marriage, with an expectation for the draft to be submitted to Parliament next month. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit, File)

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand’s Cabinet on Tuesday approved an amendment to its civil code to allow same-sex marriage, with an expectation for the draft to be submitted to Parliament next month.

Karom Polpornklang, a deputy government spokesperson, said the amendment to the Civil and Commercial Code will change the words “men and women” and “husband and wife” to “individuals” and “marriage partners” for same-sex couples to be able to receive the same rights that heterosexual couples receive.

He said the law would guarantee the right to form a family in a relationship between same-sex couples, adding that the next step will be an amendment to the pension fund law to recognize same-sex couples as well.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin told reporters that the draft law is expected to be proposed to Parliament on Dec. 12. If it becomes law after Parliament’s approval and King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s endorsement, Thailand will be the third place in Asia, after Taiwan and Nepal, to allow same-sex marriage.

While famous for being an LGBTQ+ friendly country, Thailand has struggled to pass a marriage equality law. Parliament last year debated several legal amendments to allow either marriage equality or civil unions, which do not grant same-sex couples all the same rights as heterosexual couples. All of the bills failed to be passed before the parliamentary session of the previous government ended.

The new government led by the Pheu Thai party, which took office in August, revived the attempt to pass a marriage equality bill, which it had promised during its election campaign.

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Reported by the Associated Press