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Same sex marriage laws likely to be passed in the lifetime of current government

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Same sex marriage laws likely to be passed in the lifetime of current government | The Thaiger

After years of calls by sexual-diversity groups, a new law that would allow registered life partnership for same-sex couples is in the making. Supporters expect it to be promulgated within the lifetime of the present government.

For proponents, the long-awaited legislation is viewed as the first i-mportant step towards legal same-sex marriage in Thailand in the future. Sexual diversity groups have long called for a law that guarantees partnerships between couples of the same sex, as the existing legislation only allows marriages between people of different sexes.

A Justice Ministry subcommittee charged with drafting the bill is scheduled to convene on May 4 before presenting the final draft, through the justice minister, to the Cabinet for approval, said a source at the ministry’s Rights and Liberties Protection Department (RLPD).

“The department aims to have this draft law promulgated within the term of this present government,” the source said.

In 2012, same-sex couples petitioned the Parliamentary Committee on Law, Justice and Human Rights for a law to protect same-sex unions as gender-based discrimination was considered a violation of the Constitution. The committee later worked with the RLPD to draft a bill for “life partnership registration” but its move to Parliament was interrupted by the military coup in 2014.

They included the different demands of various same-sex couple groups, religious beliefs against same-sex partnerships, and authorities’ tendency to cling to the male-female family structure, while some parts of Thai society still had a bias against same-sex companionship. The latest version narrowed its focus to the asset management of same-sex life partners to avoid large-scale impacts and the need to amend multiple laws, she said.

People in same-sex relationships yesterday praised the proposed legislation as new hope that their lives could be made easier. However, some gender-equality advocates called for a more progressive law. 38 year old Ratthanan Prapairat says he has been with his same-sex partner for more than 20 years. They have bought a house, run a clothing business together and have built a family life like any other straight couple. If the new law is implemented, they say they will definitely register their partnership.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

He said they had been worried in the past about asset management but they had arranged a will addressing their assets, just in case something unexpected happened in the future.

50 year old Vitaya Saeng-aroon says he had an issue when his partner was hospitalised as the existing law does not consider same-sex partners to be relatives.

“When my same-sex partner was in ICU earlier this year, 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,” Vitaya said.

“After a week in ICU, he passed away peacefully. I did not know about his death until his brother called me,” he added.

Vitaya said the law is important as a stepping stone to validate same-sex relationship.

“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 said.

Same sex marriage laws likely to be passed in the lifetime of current government | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

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Opinion

Buddhists call for boycott of Hilton & Waldorf Astoria Hotels with the opening of Siddhartha Lounge

The Thaiger

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Buddhists call for boycott of Hilton & Waldorf Astoria Hotels with the opening of Siddhartha Lounge | The Thaiger

OPINION: The Buddhist Times

Since its creation in 1996, Buddha-Bar Paris has been using the name and image of Buddha in it’s Bars and Hotels throughout the world. Typically the franchises use large statues of Buddha in their Bars and around dance floors and in restaurants similar to a Buddhist temple.

What makes the use of Buddha’s image in these bars most insulting to Buddhists around the world is that Buddhism does not support the consumption of alcohol. So to use the Buddha’s image as decoration to promote the consumption and sale of alcohol and as a prop on dance floors and in restaurants is especially disrespectful and hurtful to Buddhists.

Now comes a further insult with the Buddha-Bar franchise opening the Siddhartha Lounge at Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah. (Siddhartha Gautama being the full name of Buddha).

According to the Knowing Buddha Organisation in Thailand what the Buddha-Bar franchise is doing is not only disrespectful but it is immoral. The foundation points out that “Respect is Common Sense”.

Buddhists feel hurt by the misuse of the name and image of their father, as people of other faiths would be if the image of Christ or Mohammad were used to promote bars and nightclubs.

The Buddha–Bar, restaurant, and hotel franchise created by French-Romanian restaurateur Raymond Vișan and DJ and interior designer Claude Challe, with its original location having opened in Paris, France in 1996.

Raymond Vișan, according to Wikipedia, had the idea of establishing the chain of restaurants and bars which came from his fascination with the Orient. However at the age of 60 Visan suddenly died of terminal cancer. The franchise was continued by co-founder Claude Challe and Vișan’s wife Tarja, who took over the reins of the Buddha Bar franchise upon Vișan death.

Critics of the Vișan’s and Claude Challe say that these self described artists and creators have created nothing but bad Karma and Sin for themselves. They suggest that Buddha-Bar franchise is a form of “grotesque Plagiarism ” which has merely hi-jacked a 2500 year old religion, using the name and image of Buddha, who imparts peace, compassion and loving kindness, for the purpose of selling alcohol and making money. As any case of plagiarism it is expected that Buddha-Bar and Waldorf Astoria will soon find them selves in the courts say Buddhims advocats.

Buddhist around the world are calling the Boycotting of Waldorf Astoria Hotels Hilton Hotels, Buddha-Bars and the music of Claude Challe, demanding that they stop using the image of Buddha and instead creat their own brand.

The views expressed in this editorial do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of The Thaiger or its staff

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Bangkok

30,000 baht reward offered after prisoner walks away from Bangkok prison

May Taylor

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30,000 baht reward offered after prisoner walks away from Bangkok prison | The Thaiger

Police in Bangkok are offering a reward of 30,000 baht for information that leads to the capture of an escaped convict. The Daily News reports that Pol Col Chanaworasin Suphaphanarak, the chief of Prachacheun police in northern Bangkok, confirmed the reward yesterday.

Phraiphiw Phumiphu, a convicted thief, escaped Bangkok Remand prison on Saturday. It’s understood he had been working outside the prison gates when he ran off.

Press reports say the escaped prisoner is “unstable”, while the poster issued to publicise the reward for his capture describes him as “dangerous.”

It’s understood Phraiphiw previously served a jail sentence for theft but had re-offended.

SOURCE: Daily News | ThaiVisa

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Thailand

21% of Thai teenagers are gambling

Greeley Pulitzer

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21% of Thai teenagers are gambling | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Gambling, local style, Rai Et, north-east Thailand – Pinterest

Early in October the Thai Health Promotion Foundation met to discuss the gambling situation in Thailand in 2019. Also present were the Centre for Gambling Studies, Stop Gambling Foundation and related groups.

The meeting was set up after a report revealed that more than half (57%) of the Thai population, or 30.42 million people, gamble. The director-general of the Centre for Gambling Studies at Chulalongkorn University shared the report, which was based on data from a survey of 44,050 people across 77 provinces.

The figure is an increase of 1.49 million people from 2017. While most Thai gamblers are of working age, 2.4% of the total were aged between 15-18 years. This means that 21% of that age group are gambling.

According to California’s Council on Problem Gambling, youth, like everyone else, gamble for many reasons, including entertainment; socialisation; competition; loneliness, and boredom; to get rich quick; to impress others; be the centre of attention; make new friends, and because winning provides an instant, temporary boost of confidence.

“The California Council on Problem Gambling lists depression as one reason youth turn to gambling, noting that depression can just as easily be an effect as a cause. This is especially important to note in a country like Thailand.”

In an article in The ASEAN Post, it was noted that in December 2017, Thailand’s Department of Mental Health (DMH) reported that an estimated one million teenagers are believed to suffer from depression, many of whom go untreated, with two million more are at risk, making upward of three million among a population of eight million teens then.

The DMH said that stress and anxiety may affect a student’s ability to concentrate and perform well at school, and they may show several warning signs, such as lack of attention, loss of interest in daily activities, lethargy, sadness, and sleeping issues.

“It is clear from studies that depression and gambling go hand-in-hand: the unfortunate case in Thailand is that it is affecting children too.”

SOURCE: The ASEAN Post

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