Thailand approves historic bill to legalise same-sex marriage

The lower house of Thailand's parliament approved the bill to legalise same-sex marriage with an overwhelming 399 to 10 vote.

This article is about Thailand passing a bill to legalise same-sex marriage. In the photo, Thai lawmakers in parliament holding a Pride flag scarf.
Image: Via X - @KhaosodEnglish

Legislators in the lower house of Thailand’s parliament overwhelmingly approved a landmark bill to legalise same-sex marriage. If signed into law, it would make Thailand the first country in south-east Asia to introduce marriage rights for same-sex couples.

The vote took place on March 27, when the bill won the approval of 399 lawmakers, with only 10 of them voting against. The bill is now set to go to the Thai Senate, which rarely rejects legislation approved by the lower house, and will then require the king’s endorsement.

If made into law, the bill will amend the Civil and Commercial Code, changing the words “men and women” and “husband and wife” to gender-neutral terms. The change would allow same-sex couples to enjoy full legal, financial and medical rights.

However, the bill stopped short of including the term “parent” in addition to “father and mother”, which activists have denounced as a limit imposed on the rights of LGBTQ+ people to form a family and raise children.

After the results of the vote were announced, one representative brought a rainbow flag inside the parliament. “Today society has proved to us that they care about LGBT rights,” Tunyawaj Kamolwongwat, an MP with the progressive Move Forward Party, told AFP. “Now we finally will have the same rights as others.”


The bill is set to make Thailand the first countries in south-east Asia to legalise same-sex marriage. Other countries in Asia that have introduced same-sex marriage are Taiwan and Nepal, making Thailand also the third one to do so in the entire continent.

Thailand enjoys a welcoming reputation for the international LGBTQ+ community, but activists in the country have been pushing for marriage equality for decades. This vote came after a decision by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s cabinet to go ahead with the parliamentary debate. The Prime Minister has been a vocal supporter of the LGBTQ+ community, making same-sex marriage a key issue for the country.

Chairman of the parliamentary committee, Danuphorn Punnakanta, commented on the draft bill by saying: “We did this for all Thai people to reduce disparity in society and start creating equality. I want to invite you all to make history.”

Following the vote, Mookdapa Yangyuenpradorn, a spokesperson with activist group Fortify Rights, said: “It’s a huge step for our country — it is the first in southeast Asia.”

Mookdapa expressed hope that the bill would progress smoothly through the later stages, so that the country “will be on par with the international level in terms of LGBT rights”.

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