The cabinet yesterday approved a civil partnership bill that will allow same-sex couples to register their relationship, thus allowing them to receive the same benefits and rights which are accorded to heterosexual couples.
Speaking after a cabinet meeting yesterday, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said the move is in line with global trends on diversity, gender equality and human rights.
He said the bill’s passing will necessitate amendments to other laws to ensure same-sex couples have the same rights as heterosexual couples — including the right to adopt and inheritance.
The Education Ministry has been instructed to hold public hearings to gather feedback from all stakeholders, including religious leaders.
“This is done to ensure the bill is free from flaw. It will be beneficial to society and in line with international standards,” the prime minister said.
Deputy government spokeswoman, Rachada Dhnadirek, said the cabinet also approved changes to the Civil and Commercial Codes to support the civil partnerships bill.
The Council of State, which is the government’s legal advisory body, will scrutinise the civil partnerships bill, as well as the associated amendments.
Ms Rachada said the bill recognises same-sex civil partnership and grants same-sex couples rights which are accorded to heterosexual couples, such as the right to adopt.
Under the bill, same-sex couples will be allowed to register their relationship so long as both partners are at least 17 years old. For the relationship to be recognised by the government, at least one individual in the relationship must be a Thai national.
Those who are under the age of 17 must have the permission from their parents, legal guardians, or a court of law. Once a minor registers the relationship with authorities, he or she will no longer be considered as a minor.
In addition to allowing samesex couples to adopt, the bill also allows a partner to inherit assets left behind by their partner after his or her death.
Under the bill, a civil partnership ends when a partner dies, or when a partner applies to separate, for instance, in the case of abuse or abandonment.
Separations and other disputes relating to same-sex couples will be handled by the Central and Juvenile Family Court.