Thailand Set to Recognise Same-Sex Marriages


Participants in the Pride march in Bangkok, Thailand (Photo: Chayanit Itthipongmaetee / Shutterstock)

Thailand has taken a historic and significant step towards becoming the first Southeast Asian nation to legalise same-sex marriage.

On Wednesday, the lower house of Parliament passed a marriage equality bill by a huge majority, with 400 in favour and just 10 against.

The legislation must still be passed by the Senate and endorsed by the king, which is widely anticipated to happen before the end of the year.

The draft law is backed by the government and is a consolidated final version of four marriage equality bills that were all approved by Parliament in December 2023.

Once enacted, the bill will amend the Civil and Commercial Code by replacing the terms “men and women” and “husband and wife” with the words “individuals” and “marriage partners.” It will also allow for married same-sex couples to adopt.

This would make the country the third Asian nation to legalise same-sex marriage after Taiwan and Nepal and the first in Southeast Asia.

In a post on X, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin described the bill as “the pride of Thai society”.

He said the vote reflected efforts by the Thai people “working together to create a society of equality that does not discriminate, especially concerning gender and family formation, which are basic human rights that the state should guarantee.”

There have been several unsuccessful efforts since 2012 to pass legislation to recognise same-sex relationships in Thailand, which is considered one of the most LGBTIQ-accepting countries in the region. 

A government survey conducted in October and November 2023 showed that 96.6% of the Thai public support the same-sex marriage bill.

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