Single sex marriage law on way
Dept vows boost for human rights, family law
The Justice Ministry is expected to finish in September considering the country's first-ever Civil Partnership Bill to provide same-sex couples with similar rights to married couples.
Pitikan Sithidej, chief of the Right and Liberties Protection Department, said the department is working with stakeholders on the bill.
"The bill is now being vetted by the ministry. We expect to finish considering it by the end of September. After that, it will be forwarded to the cabinet for approval before being submitted to the National Legislative Assembly for deliberation,'' said Ms Pitikan.
She was speaking yesterday at a seminar on the draft law on civil partnership as part of the mandatory public hearing process required before the bill can move forward.
During the ministry's consideration process, the bill will have to go through a number of public hearings and undergo multiple revisions before it can be passed into law.
She said the first draft was made in 2013 with 15 sections and later amended into 63 sections to cover all basic rights of same sex marriage which currently is not allowed under Thai law.
According to the bill, a same sex spouse has a right to possess assets and property after death, a right to tax reductions and welfare benefits, including medical treatment, and right to adopt a child.
But there is no right to use a spouse's surname, she said.
"The civil partnership bill's importance is close to that of the marriage law. It is a significant movement to guarantee basic rights for single sex people whose rights have not been protected by the law," said Kittinun Daramadhaj, president of the Rainbow Sky Association of Thailand.
Mr Kittinun said the principle of the bill was to integrate the idea of single sex relations with basic human rights, and would give people the right to have their own family life regardless of sex.
He said the bill will finally help single sex couples live with the same dignity as ordinary couples.
The association, the Justice Ministry, American Jewish World Service and their partners yesterday organised the seminar.
They shared experiences on single sex marriage in various countries. Currently, around 50 countries worldwide have issued laws recognising single sex marriage.
Mark Warnock, second secretary of the Australian embassy, said Australia endorsed same sex marriage in 2016, and currently there are around 2,000 sex same couples married in the country.
Before the general election, the country surveyed the public on the same sex marriage law, and 61.6% said they agreed with the idea.
After that, Australia passed a law for same sex marriage, based on the reason that the right to marry should not be determined by gender.
He said the law was made based on the principle of the country's support for equality of sex life and protection of freedom supported by the law.
The law also applied to migration legislation, so Austrailan partners can apply for a visa for any partner of the same sex.
Meanwhile, Amara Pongsapich, former chair of the National Human Right Commission, backed the bill, saying the measure is a significant movement on gender equality and human rights and was welcome.
It was the government's duty to draft such a law for the sake of people's rights and civil society must play a key role in establishing it, she added.