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Thailand’s Marriage equality bill sails through lower House

PHOTO: Thai Rath

Thailand has taken a significant step towards becoming the first country in Southeast Asia to recognise same-sex marriage.

Yesterday, March 27, the lower House of Parliament overwhelmingly approved the marriage equality bill on its final reading. It will now go to the Senate and will then be submitted for Royal approval.

The bill was approved by 400 to 10. There were 2 abstentions and 3 MPs who did not vote. Pheu Thai MP Danuporn Punnakan described the bill as being for all Thais, regardless of gender.

According to the bill, same-sex couples must be at least 18 years old to get engaged or married, in order to protect minors from forced marriage. Danuporn says this legislation is in line with the convention on the protection of the rights of children.

The MP says a minority of the House scrutiny committee had also proposed the new term “first parents” be added to the bill, a suggestion which was rejected by the majority of the committee.

Danuporn went on to acknowledge that gender identity is no longer a simple case of male or female and that some may wish to choose a different gender to the one they were assigned at birth.

He says the bill does not convey any additional rights but rather it restores basic rights and signifies a new era of equality in Thailand.

Once approved by the Senate and given official Royal endorsement, the bill becomes law and Thailand will become the third country in Asia, after Taiwan and Nepal, to recognise same-sex marriage.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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