Home Foreign Thailand passes same-sex bill, becomes 3rd Asian country to legalise gay marriage

Thailand passes same-sex bill, becomes 3rd Asian country to legalise gay marriage

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The Senate in Thailand on Tuesday passed the same-sex bill, thereby legalising gay marriage in the country.

Earlier in March, the lower House approved the bill with only 10 of the 415 sitting lawmakers voting against it.

When the bill finally becomes law, as it appears sure to be, it will make Thailand the third Asian country and about the 38th globally to approve same-sex marriage.

Two Asian countries, Taiwan and Nepal, had earlier become countries in Asia where two people of the same gender can marry each other.

The Thailand Senate gave its approval by 130 votes, with only four members disapproving and 18 abstaining from voting.

The bill will now go before King Maha Vajiralongkorn who is expected to give assent by publishing it in the Royal Gazette.

This development, though still forbidden in many countries even within Asia, does not come to Thailand as a surprise; as huge sections of the country have long supported ‘equal marriage’.

At least 37 countries around the world have enacted laws fully legalising marriage for all since the Netherlands became the first in 2001.

In Asia, India came close to approving same sex union in October last year, but the Supreme Court referred the decision to parliament.

Even in Thailand, the journey to same-sex marriage had not been smooth.

Tuesday’s vote was only the culmination of years of campaigning thwarted at several stages by sections of the country that oppose it.

Till date, much of Buddhist-majority Thailand retains traditional and conservative values; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people still face barriers and discrimination around the country.

Same-sex or gay marriage is legally recognised in 37 countries which have a total population of about 1.5 billion people, about 20 per cent of the global population.

The countries include Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany and Greece.

Others are Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Nepal, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uruguay.


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