Thailand passes landmark bill paving way for same-sex marriage

The new legislation aims to grant full marital rights to same-sex couples including legal protections, shared property and adoption rights.

Crowd of legislators in Thailand pose with Pride flag representing bills for same-sex marriage
Image: X @BoysLoveHubENG

On Thursday, December 21, 360 out of 371 members of Thailand’s House of Representatives voted in favour of four draft marriage equality bills introduced to legalise same-sex marriage. A committee will now review and make amendments to the bills over the next two weeks.

In 2018, Thailand passed a civil partnership bill which allows same-sex couples to obtain limited legal rights. In 2022, the country legalised same-sex unions but activists described the civil partnerships as an obstacle towards marriage equality since it used a separate term for LGBTQ+ couples and did not guarantee equality for all.

In November, the government’s executive branch approved an amendment to Thailand’s Civil and Commercial Code to replace the phrases “men and women” and “husband and wife” with “individuals” and “marriage partners”. That amendment, along with three others, was submitted to Thailand’s Parliament.

The new legislation aims to grant full marital rights to same-sex couples, including legal protections, shared property, inheritance rights, and adoption rights, which are currently only available for heterosexual couples.

After reviewing a recent public survey that demonstrated over 96% of people in Thailand support marriage equality, Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin posted a statement to social media announcing that Thailand is “finally on the road to bridging the gap to equal rights for all.”


Although this ground-breaking legislation will be a major milestone for Thailand and positively impact many LGBTQ+ Thai citizens if passed, the new law in its current form has some limitations.

First, it would have a limited impact in the Deep South region where Muslim religious law can take precedence over secular law. Secondly, Amnesty International criticised the bill for its lack of protections for transgender and non-binary people saying, “there is still no legal gender recognition allowing transgender and non-binary people to legally change their title or gender on official records.”

Reuters reported that all of the bills will now be merged into one before a final vote occurs next year. If a combined version of the legislation successfully passes through the House and Senate, King Maha Vajiralongkorn will be able to sign the legislation into law.

If approved, Thailand will become the second Asian nation to legalise same-sex marriage, following Taiwan in 2019.

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