Thai Senate passed the marriage equality law in final reading. It will now be sent to King Maha Vajiralongkorn for royal assent and will take effect 120 days after being published in the official Royal Gazette.
Thai lawmakers convened to vote on the legalisation of same-sex marriage on Tuesday, potentially paving way for Thailand to become the first country in Southeast Asia to acknowledge marriage equality and third territory in Asia to recognise same-sex couples after Nepal and Taiwan.
“Today is the day that Thai people will smile. It is a victory for the people,” Tunyawaj Kamolwongwat, an MP with the progressive Move Forward Party, told reporters.
The new legislation replaces references to “men”, “women”, “husbands”, and “wives” in marriage laws with gender-neutral terms, granting same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples in matters of adoption and inheritance.
Thailand has long been known for its vibrant LGBTQ+ culture and tolerance, and opinion polls indicate strong public support for equal marriage.
Despite the progress, some activists have criticised the new laws for not recognising transgender and non-binary individuals, who will still be unable to change their gender on official identity documents.
Same-sex marriage rights in South Asia
While more than 30 countries worldwide have legalised marriage for all since the Netherlands became the first in 2001, only Taiwan and Nepal recognise marriage equality in Asia.
India came close to legalising marriage in October, but the Supreme Court referred the decision back to parliament.
(With agency inputs)

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