Southern Muslim leaders disapprove of LGBT partner bill

“Only in the South has our public forum on the Life Partnership Bill heard opposition.”

Muslim leaders in Thailand’s South have rejected the proposed Life Partnership Bill, which would allow LGBT couples to marry.

The Nation reports that, if the bill becomes law, the religious leaders say they will not perform marriage rituals for LGBT couples. No religious leader is required to perform rituals under the proposed law.

Islam does not allow people of the same sex to have sexual relations. Thailand’s neighbour Malaysia, for example, considers sodomy a crime. Malay Muslims are the majority in the Thai South.

“Only in the South has our public forum on the Life Partnership Bill heard opposition,” Nareeluc Pairchaiyapoom, who heads the Rights and Liberties Protection Department’s International Human Rights Division, said yesterday.

Her department has held public forums on the bill in all regions of the Kingdom, which has the highest percentage of Buddhists at 93 per cent. Nareeluc said the forum for the southern region took place on November 15 in Songkhla province, with local religious leaders and LGBT members from other regions among the 136 participants.

“Muslim leaders do not agree with the bill. They are worried about its content because they think it runs against their religion,” Nareeluc said.

She said her department had explained to Muslim leaders that the bill would not force anyone to register a same-sex marriage.

“Most participants at our forums have supported the bill,” she said.

Her department has also gathered public opinions on the bill via its website, with most comments supporting the bill. A total of 3,055 people commented on the bill through the online platform.

“We are now processing data we have gathered. After we integrate it into the bill, we will submit it to Deputy PM and Justice Minister ACM Prajin Juntong,” Nareeluc said.

He will then forward it to the Cabinet,” she said.

If the Cabinet gives the green light, the bill will go the National Legislative Assembly.

Many comments have emphasised that the bill should also allow LGBT couples to adopt children.

The mammoth Life Partnership Bill – it has no fewer than 70 sections – allows gender-diverse couples many of the same rights recognised for heterosexual partners, including inheritance and marital property matters, as well as the legal right to make medical decisions for a partner who is incapacitated.

STORY: The Nation

South Thailand News

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