If the bill passes then Thailand would become only the second Asian country to recognise same-sex couples.
A bill set to legalise same-sex civil partnerships is set to be introduced to the Thai parliament. Last year, the Thai government confirmed their aims to legalise gay rights in the country, which is largely accepting on the whole.
The bill is still being drafted by a subcommittee, but will be submitted by one of the country’s Justice Ministers when it’s finalised. The bill is expected to be passed before the country’s next general election, which is set to be held next February.
However, the government’s Rights and Liberties Protection Department confirmed that there may be some struggles ahead. These come from varying demands from LGBTQ campaigners, religious groups, bias from certain parts of the country and authorities who believe in the male-female family type.
Currently, same-sex couples have no legal protections, and so if one of them dies, it’s possible that the other won’t be informed. This happened to Vitaya Saeng-aroon, whose partner was taken to hospital earlier this year. He didn’t hear of his partner’s death until a relative told him.
Saeng-aroon believes that if the law is changed then it would give same-sex couples rights in the decision over a partner’s medical care. Speaking to The Nation, he said: “I was not permitted to sign any document after he went into a coma.
“I was not his relative, even though I had been taking care of him for over a year. I had to wait for his brother from upcountry to show up. After a week in ICU, he passed away peacefully.
“I did not know about his death until his brother called me.”
Speaking about other benefits to the law, he said: “It’s not only about equality, but also about humanity.
“Gay people need to be recognised as common couples in every supporting aspect. That will bring wider understanding towards the true meaning of diversity,” he finished.
Ratthanan Prapairat, who has been with his same-sex partner for 20 years, also spoke of the benefits of the law, saying: “It is a must-have that should have been in place years ago as it would be very helpful in protecting the rights of same-sex couples.
“Same-sex couples are no different from straight couples. We have accumulated a lot of assets and heritage together. This law will be great for us.” Prapairat confirmed that he would apply for a civil partnership if they were legalised.
Earlier this month, it was announced that Romania could be about to introduce civil partnerships. However, the legalisation would come against the backdrop of the country seeking a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages.