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Thailand passes bill to legalise same-sex marriage

The 500-member House of Representatives voted to pass the so-called “marriage equality” bill, technically an amendment to the Civil and Commercial Code, in a final reading on Wednesday. As many as 400 lawmakers backed the legislation, while 10 opposed it and five members either abstained or didn’t vote after a nearly four-hour debate.

The landmark legislation seeks to formally change the composition of a marriage from “a man and a woman” to “two individuals,” and change the official legal status from “husband and wife” to “married couple.”

Thai laws have protected LGBTQ people from most kinds of discrimination since 2015, but attempts to formalise marriage rights had stalled. In 2021, the Constitutional Court upheld the law recognising marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman. Last year, a bill to recognise same-sex civil partnerships failed to clear parliament ahead of elections.

Srettha’s government has also promised to work on a bill to recognise gender identity, and the health ministry has also proposed legalising commercial surrogacy to allow LGBTQ couples to adopt children. Thailand is seeking to host the WorldPride events in Bangkok in 2028.


Thai pride parade celebrates diversity and calls for equal marriage and gender identities

Legalising same-sex marriage could have positive effects on tourism, which contributes about 12 per cent to the nation’s US$500 billion economy. In 2019, before the pandemic froze international tourism, LGBTQ travel and tourism to Thailand generated about US$6.5 billion, or 1.2 per cent of gross domestic product, according to industry consultant LGBT Capital.

Formal recognition could boost the reputation of a place already considered one of Asia’s best for LGBTQ visitors, said