The cabinet has approved the Civil Partnership Bill, which allows same-sex couples to register their partnership, and legal amendments after being vetted by the Council of State.
Deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek said on Tuesday that the cabinet earlier endorsed the draft bill, which was sponsored by the Justice Ministry in July 2020, but it resolved that the ministry needed to thoroughly study the bill to justify its need and get public feedback.
The Council of State, the central legal advisory body to the government, had already vetted the bill and the legal amendments, which were forwarded to the cabinet on Tuesday. Following the cabinet approval, they will be put to a vote in the House of Representatives, said Ms Rachada.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Tuesday that the Civil Partnership Bill was a new law in response to global changes, particularly gender equality and sexual diversity. They were fundamental human rights that must be protected in line with international principles.
Same-sex engagement and marriages affected some existing laws that must be amended to prevent obstacles because being families had legal binding on many things such as inheritance, assets, heirship, surrogacy, child adoption as well as social dimensions.
The government had assigned the Justice Ministry to thoroughly study the bill and listen to views from all sectors, both the public sector and representatives of all religions, and all sides were already consulted to correct all shortcomings, said the prime minister.
The bill was truly socially constructed and international, Gen Prayut added.
The bill defines civil partners as couples born with the same gender. Civil unions will be available to consenting same-sex couples who are at least 17 years old as long as at least one is a Thai national.
Civil partners will have the same legal rights as married people regarding personal and jointly held property, as well as the right to adopt children.
When one partner dies, the other will have the same inheritance rights as conventional married couples under the Civil and Commercial Code, which also prohibits a man or a woman from getting married if he or she already has a civil partner.
A man or a woman can face a divorce lawsuit if he or she treats someone else as a civil partner.
Under the amendment, the right to receive living allowances in the case of divorce is terminated if the party receiving them remarries or registers a civil partnership.