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

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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 Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

 

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