Thailand’s lower house passes bill to legalize same-sex marriage

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Thailand’s House of Representatives voted to legalize same-sex marriage on Wednesday, bringing the Southeast Asian nation a step closer to becoming the third territory in Asia to guarantee equal marital rights.

The lower house of parliament passed the bill following a third and final reading, with 400 representatives voting in favor. Only 10 members opposed the bill.

The bill still requires approval from the Senate and endorsement from the king before marriage equality can become reality in Thailand, a process that could still take months.

If passed into law, Thailand would be the first nation in Southeast Asia to legally recognize same-sex marriage.

It would also make the country only the third place in Asia to allow for marriage equality after Taiwan legalized same-sex marriage in 2019 and Nepal in 2023.

“We are now writing a new Thai history that will change Thai society forever,” Plaifah Kyoka Shodladd, a member of the amendment committee told parliament Wednesday.

“The social situation has changed, and it is time that the law should catch up with the current situation.”

The marriage equality bill that passed in the lower house Wednesday was supported by all the major parties and marks a significant step in cementing the country’s reputation as one of the friendliest in the region toward gay, lesbian and transgender people.

However, the reality, according to some members of the LGBTQ community, is different. They say laws prohibit discrimination, but they still regularly face prejudice and even violence in Thailand’s conservative society.

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