Thailand to pass same-sex union bill, first in Southeast Asia

A pride parade held in February 2020 at Thailand. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

TAIPEI (The China Post) — Thailand is set to become the first Southeast Asian country to legalize same-sex unions; the government-approved bill, which was passed on July 8, is now pending for parliament review. 

Presently, the bill allows same-sex unions to manage joint assets and liabilities, inherit from their partners and adopt children.

However, the bill does not endorse same-sex marriage and prevents partners from accessing each other’s goverment pensions.

These restrictions could be changed at a later stage, Kerdchoke Kasamwongjit, deputy director-general of the Rights and Liberties Protection Department, said. 

“[The bill] is an important step for Thailand in creating equality for everyone and guaranteeing rights for same-sex couples to start a family,” Rachada Dhnadirek, a spokeswoman for the government, said. 

Though Thailand bears the reputation of being welcoming and friendly towards the LGBTQ+ community, the nation’s laws are mixed in accommodating LGBTQ+ rights.

Currently, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is illegal. However, individuals from the LGBTQ+ community claim they often have trouble finding jobs outside of entertainment, media and tourism.

Furthermore, same-sex couples at present do not share legal rights. 

If the pending bill is passed, Thailand will officially become the second country in Asia to legalize same-sex unions after Taiwan.