New rights for gay couples

New rights for gay couples

The cabinet yesterday approved a bill on civil partnerships for same-sex couples which will entitle them to a range of new legal rights, Natthaporn Jatusripitak, spokesman for Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, said.

He said the aim of the bill was to push for broader human rights protection to cover people of diverse sexual orientations. The civil partnership bill, which was proposed by the Rights and Liberties Department, is the first of its kind in Asia, he added.

Under the bill, same-sex couples of Thai nationality, aged 20 and older, will be allowed to register a civil partnership and terminate their partnership registrations under certain conditions. Their partnership registrations will end upon the death of a partner. Both partners are also entitled to terminate their partnership registrations on a voluntary basis. Their partnership registrations can also be terminated by a court order.

The Civil and Commercial Code will be amended to accommodate the civil partnership bill for the greater financial benefit of both partners. For example, a same sex spouse has the right to inherit the assets and property of their partner in the event of the latter's death.

However, the bill excludes the right to adopt children and the right to receive state welfare benefits, though same-sex couples still have the right to adopt children under the existing Child Adoption Act, he said. The bill next heads to the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) for deliberation.

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