Thailand’s parliament approves same-sex marriage

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Thailand’s parliament overwhelmingly approved a marriage equality bill this Wednesday (27), a historic step that moves one of Asia’s most liberal countries closer to becoming the third on the continent to legalize unions between people of the same sex.

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As a result, the project had the support of all of Thailand’s main parties and was more than a decade in development. It still requires Senate approval and King’s approval before it becomes law to come into force 120 days later.

The legislation was approved by 400 of the 415 parliamentarians present, with only 10 voting against. With this, Thailand can join Taiwan and Nepal in allowing same-sex unions.

“We did this for all Thais to reduce the disparity in society and start creating equality,” Danuphorn Punnakanta, chairman of the parliamentary committee on the bill, told lawmakers before the reading.

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“I want to invite you all to make history.”

Furthermore, the passage of the bill marks a significant step towards consolidating Thailand’s position as one of Asia’s most liberal countries on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues, with openness and progressive attitudes co-existing in society alongside traditional, conservative Buddhist values.

Thailand has long been a draw for same-sex couples, with a vibrant LGBT social scene visible to locals and expats, and targeted campaigns to attract LGBT travelers.

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