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Thailand Passes Landmark Bill, Becoming First Southeast Asian Country to Legalise Same-sex Marriage

The legislation labels marriage as a partnership between two individuals and changes references to “men”, “women”, “husbands” and “wives” to gender-neutral terms

Thailand’s Senate has passed a landmark marriage equality bill, paving the way for the Southeast Asian country to recognise same-sex marriage.

The Kingdom’s Senate on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly in favor of passing the bill following a final reading, with 130 out of 152 members voting in favor. Only four senators voted against the bill while 18 abstented.

The legislation labels marriage as a partnership between two individuals and changes references to “men”, “women”, “husbands” and “wives” to gender-neutral terms. It would also grant LGBTQ couples inheritance and adoption rights equal to those of heterosexual marriages.

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While the bill has been passed, it is still not law yet as it requires endorsement from King Maha Vajiralongkorn. But this process is considered a formality, reports have said. The law will then come into force 120 days after it is published in the Royal Gazette.

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Once it takes effect, Thailand will become the third Asian country after Nepal and Taiwan to legalise gay marriage.

Supporters of the legislation have called it a “monumental step forward for LGBTQ+ rights.”

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“The potential impact of this bill is immense. It would not only change the lives of countless couples but also contribute to a more just and equitable society for all. Beyond the legal implications, the passage of this bill would send a powerful message of acceptance and inclusion,” Panyaphon Phiphatkhunarnon, founder of Love Foundation – an NGO campaigning for LGBTQ+ equality in Thailand said to CNN.

Politicians and activists were seen celebrating in the National Assembly, waving rainbow flags and smiling, with some raising their fists in solidarity with the LGBTQ community, Aljazeera reported.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has also been one of the vocal supporters of the bill and the LGBTQ community. Reports say he is set to open his official residence to activists for celebrations. Many supporters are also said to later hold a rally featuring a drag show in central Bangkok.

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