Thailand is set to be the first Southeast Asian country to legalise same-sex unions after the government approved a bill that will now head for parliamentary approval.
A government spokeswoman said, “This is an important step for Thailand in creating equality for everyone and guaranteeing rights for same-sex couples to start a family.”
The bill, which doesn’t go as far as endorsing marriage, will let same-sex unions adopt children, jointly manage assets and liabilities, and inherit from their partners.
Of course, there’s a catch to all of this. In order to legally marry in Thailand, one of the partners needs to be a Thai citizen. This means that couples of different nationalities won’t be able to go and marry in Thailand. That puts a damper on LGBTQ couples dreaming of eloping to the beautiful country.
The bill in its current form still doesn’t grant the couples access to each other’s government pension, but that could be allowed after some amendment at later stage
Though Thailand has a friendly image toward the gay, lesbian and transgender community, the country’s laws are mixed in accommodating LGBT rights. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is illegal, yet some in the LGBT community say they have trouble finding jobs outside the tourism, media and entertainment industries. Currently, same-sex couples don’t have legal rights.
If passed, Thailand would become the second country in Asia to allow such unions after Taiwan legalized them in 2019.