BANGKOK (The Nation): The Constitution Court yesterday issued a ruling that won’t make it any easier for foreign men married to Thai wives to become Thai citizens. The ruling effectively means that men born overseas will still be subject to complicated citizenship procedures. Foreign women married to Thai men are currently allowed to seek Thai nationality without having to go through regular channels. Those channels are considered complicated, and they are applied to all foreign males wishing to become naturalised Thais. Justice Minister Pongthep Thepkanchana asked the court to rule on the constitutionality of the legal provision and decide if it infringed gender equality. “The majority of the judges ruled that it was constitutional. They also decided it did not go against any international laws,” said Noppadol Hengcharoen, the Constitution Court’s secretary-general. He said the judges came to their decision after discussing the matter with experts from the Interior Ministry, the National Security Council, Foreign Minis-try and academics. Noppadol said most of the judges pointed out that foreign men married to Thais could request Thai citizenship through a regular process that was neither too complicated nor detrimental to their family. But any request for Thai citizenship could be rejected. The majority judges were Kramol Tongdhamachart, Jum-phol na Songkhla, Preecha Cha-lermwanich, Phan Chantara-pan, Sak Techachan, Manit Withayatem, Suthee Sithisom-boon, Suwan Suwanwecho and Ura Wang-omklang. The judges who found the legal clause unconstitutional were Mongkol Saratan, Sujit Boonbongkan, Suwit Theera-pong and Amorn Raksasat. Two other judges – Jira Boon-pojanasunthorn and Saowanee Asawaroj – did not rule on the matter.
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