Since the approval of a parliamentary bill to legalise same sex relationship last July by the Cabinet, bureaucratic setbacks and vigorous contrast from several groups are making the procedure more complex than anticipated.
Currently, the bill allows the adoption of children for legally-registered couples (in which one of the spouses must be a Thai citizen), supporting inheritance rights and allows joint management of property assets.
However, the bill does not recognise actual gay marriage, excludes workers’ welfare and tax deduction rights in employment. It also does not allow a change of gender from that described originally on the birth certificate.
Constitutional experts say that to recognise a legit marriage of same sex partners, it would require well-specified changes to the country’s civil code.
For example, section 1448 specifically states that marriage must be between a man and a woman. Another sensitive issue to be debated on is the Gender Equality Act of 2015 which appears to outlaw discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, but then permits a whole list of exceptions in religion, education for the sake of public interest.
On the other hand, the expansion of gay rights was strongly opposed by the Muslim communities, supporters for a moral society and several parliament members questioning the need for further legislation.
Moreover, LBGT groups in Thailand say it does not go far enough as expected. Wachakorn Thanachokvanitchakul, a 30-year-old office employee said many gay people would rather wait 10 years for full equality rather than have fake equality in the near future.
If the bill becomes a law, then Thailand would be the second country in Asia, after Taiwan, to recognise gay civil unions.
Original writer: Barry Kenyon
Source: Pattaya Mail
Large supporters of LGBTQ marches down central Bangkok in November 2020. (Photo: Prachatai / globalvoices.org)