Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Calls to recognize gay marriage made

– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Same-sex couples call for marriage rights
Phuket Gazette / The Nation
PHUKET: Valentine’s Day yesterday saw lovebirds register their unions at district offices, especially those with “lucky” names such as Bangkok’s Bang Rak (“Village of Love”). Same-sex couples who showed up only to be turned down, as such unions aren’t recognized by Thai law, called for legal amendments to allow gay marriage.

For the 2,666 couples married in Bangkok on Valentine’s Day last year, Bang Rak district was the most popular location, with 903 couples – compared to a normal daily rate of 30 pairs.

Bang Rak yesterday continued its tradition of offering special treats for the occasion, handing out 12 “gold” marriage certificates, each worth 9,000 baht, and other prizes via lucky draws. Office director Seuchana Sudcharoen expected to wed 1,000 couples by the day’s end.

The first couple to win a “gold” certificate plus a one million baht life-insurance policy was Pol Captain Chukiat Jongsomboon, 35, and Janthima Thidawan, 21, who have a son.

Among the couples seeking a legal union was same-sex couple Pallawee Jongtangsatchatham, 32, and Rungthiwa Kankanopas, 47, who have been together for nine years. But the couple was turned down by officials, who said the law doesn’t allow for such matrimony.

Rungthiwa told The Nation, ” I prepared my mind [to be denied] the right. But I could never prepare my heart to accept it.” Rungthiwa said she wanted the same legal right to leave her inheritance to her spouse as any other husband or wife. They said they would ask Parliament and Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to amend the law to allow same-sex marriage.

Sexual Diversity Network members were also at the event venue, the CAT Telecom building, to call for legalization of same-sex marriage, so as not to deny them important legal rights such as family health insurance and inheritance rights. Anjaree Foundation founder Anjana Suvarnnanond said many same-sex couples took care of each other and lived together for life, but their unions weren’t recognized by law.

“We have to keep providing information to the public,” said Chumaporn Tangkliang, a key member of the network, which represents lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

The House of Representatives is considering a draft bill to recognize legal rights for same-sex couples, but Chumaporn said there were details that the network disagreed with, such as the need to have a psychological examination before a couple is allowed to marry.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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