Marriage equality bill heads to House

Marriage equality bill heads to House

PM a strong backer of bill, opposition Move Forward Party hails progress on rights

A couple register their partnership at an event held in Dusit district to celebrate Valentine’s Day in February. The registrations by LGBTQ+ couples are kept as a record by those advocating for same-sex weddings and other forms of legal marriage. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
A couple register their partnership at an event held in Dusit district to celebrate Valentine’s Day in February. The registrations by LGBTQ+ couples are kept as a record by those advocating for same-sex weddings and other forms of legal marriage. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

The cabinet on Tuesday agreed to forward a bill for marriage equality to the House of Representatives for deliberation as suggested by the government whips, said Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.

Speaking after the weekly cabinet meeting, he said the government-sponsored bill, which has been examined by the Council of State, is expected to be tabled in parliament on Thursday.

The prime minister has ben an enthusiastic backer of the draft legislation, which provides the same legal rights and protections to a same-sex marriage as a heterosexual marriage, as a step towards promoting equality and supporting families of all types.

Tunyawaj Kamolwongwat, a list-MP from the Move Forward Party (MFP), welcomed the cabinet’s decision.

He said LGBTQ+ people have been deprived of the legal rights and protections enjoyed in heterosexual marriage, and the marriage equality bill would bring about legal equality where the civil partnership bill could not.

Mr Tunyawaj also said two more versions of the marriage equality bill would be examined by parliament — one proposed by civil society groups and the other by Move Forward.

These are based on the same principle of recognising the legal union between two people regardless of their gender. The details may differ, the MP said, but they could be ironed out during the legislative review.

He said that if Thailand plans to host WorldPride, an international event to promote LGBTQ+ visibility, pushing for the passage of the marriage equality bill is a good start to demonstrate the country’s commitment to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights.

Four bills for civil unions for same-sex couples and marriage equality were debated in parliament last year but they failed to be passed before the House was dissolved, and they subsequently lapsed.

Move Forward has been pushing for the marriage equality bill, not the civil partnership bill proposed by the previous government, because it seeks to amend the law to allow anyone to wed and promote real marriage equality.

According to the main opposition party, the civil partnership bill recognises same-sex marriage but offers fewer rights and benefits to such unions.

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