Thailand legalises same-sex marriage, becomes first country in Southeast Asia to approve bill

Thailand legalises same-sex marriage, becomes first country in Southeast Asia to approve bill

Thailand has become the first country in Southeast Asia to legalise same-sex marriage, a landmark decision passed by its lawmakers. This move marks a significant step towards LGBTQ+ rights in a region known for its conservative values.


Lawmakers in Thailand voted on June 18, to approve a bill that would legalise same-sex marriage, making Thailand the first in Southeast Asia to enact such a law.

Even though Thailand has a reputation for acceptance and inclusivity, the country has struggled for decades to pass a marriage equality law. 

Thai society largely holds conservative values, and members of the LGBTQ+ community say they face discrimination in everyday life.

It may be mentioned that the government and state agencies are also historically conservative, and advocates for gender equality have had a hard time pushing lawmakers and civil servants to accept change.

Thailand will become the third place in Asia, after Taiwan and Nepal, to allow same-sex marriage. The marriage equality bill, which grants full legal, financial and medical rights for marriage partners of any gender, sailed through the House of Representatives right before the previous parliamentary session concluded in April with the approval of 400 of the 415 members who were present.

It passed its final reading in the Senate with the approval of 130 of the 152 members in attendance, with 4 voting against it and 18 abstaining.

The bill now needs the pro forma endorsement of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, followed by its publication in the Government Gazette, which will set a date within 120 days when it becomes effective.

The timing of the Senate’s vote on Tuesday, the first day of the current parliamentary session, suggests the urgency in getting the bill passed. 

The legislation will amend the country’s Civil and Commercial Code to replace gender-specific words such as “men and women” with gender-neutral words such as “individual.”

Led by the Pheu Thai party, the Thailand government which assumed office in 2023 has made marriage equality one of its main goals.

Edited By: Avantika
Published On: Jun 19, 2024