Thailand`s Senate voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to approve a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage, reported AP. With this, the country has become the first in Southeast Asia to enact such a law.

As per the AP report, the marriage equality bill was passed with the approval of 130 of the 152 members of the Senate in attendance, with 4 voting against it and 18 abstaining.

The bill now needs the pro forma endorsement of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, followed by its publication in the Government Gazette, which will set a date within 120 days when it becomes effective.

Thailand will become the third place in Asia, after Taiwan and Nepal, to allow same-sex marriage. The marriage equality bill grants full legal, financial and medical rights for marriage partners of any gender.

The legislation will amend the country`s Civil and Commercial Code to replace gender-specific words such as ¿men and women¿ with gender-neutral words such as “individual.”

One member of the Senate, retired army Gen. Worapong Sa-nganet, argued that the gender-specific terms should still be included in the law along with the gender-neutral terms. He said excluding them would be a severe “subversion of the institution of family” in Thailand.

After the vote, Plaifah Kyoka Shodladd, an 18-year-old who identifies as non-binary, took the floor thanking everyone who supported the legislation, calling it a “force of hope” that will help Thailand become more accepting of diversity. “Today, love trumps prejudice,” Plaifah said.

As per the AP report, the government, even before the passing of the bill had announced that it would host a celebration of the occasion later Tuesday at Government House

The building was decorated with rainbow carpets, flags and a giant balloon in the shape of two hands making a heart sign.

Supporters planned to march from Parliament to Government House for the celebration.

The government led by the Pheu Thai party, which took office last year, has made marriage equality one of its main goals. It made a major effort to identify itself with the annual Bangkok Pride parade earlier this month, in which thousands of people celebrated in one of Bangkok`s busiest commercial districts. 


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