Thai MPs have voted in favour of four draft bills aimed at legalising same-sex marriage in Thailand.
This brings the Southeast Asian nation a step closer to becoming the second Asian country to fully recognise same-sex unions.
360 out of 371 present MPs approved the draft legislation. Parliament will now merge the bills into a single draft law for further debate, and they expect to hold a vote on it next year.
The new legislation would amend the civil code to provide same-sex couples equal rights and responsibilities as heterosexual couples. According to a statement from Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s office, this includes legal protections, shared property and inheritance rights, adoption, and more.
The prime minister “has been an enthusiastic backer” of the draft bill, Bangkok Post says.
Deputy Prime Minister Somsak Thepsuthin, who introduced the government’s draft bill in parliament, said it aims to allow people “regardless of gender” the right to marry. He referenced a recent public survey showing over 96% support for legalisation among the Thai population.
“Society now understands and agrees that marriage rights are fundamental human rights” – Thai MP Tunyawaj Kamolwongwat
Tunyawaj Kamolwongwat, an MP for Thailand’s Move Forward Party, which proposed the bill, wrote on X ahead of the approval: “Society now understands and agrees that marriage rights are fundamental human rights, yet diverse sexual orientations have been overlooked. Hence, today is the time for equal marriage, not civil partnership.”
Thailand has made significant progress on LGBTQ+ rights in recent decades. In 2018, lawmakers passed a civil partnership bill granting limited legal rights to same-sex couples. Additionally, they banned discrimination based on gender identity in 2015.