Thailand is on track to become the first Southeast Asian country to legalise same-sex civil unions.

On June 7, Thailand’s Cabinet approved the draft Civil Partnership Bill.

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The Bill stops short of same-sex marriage but will allow couples, 17 years of age and older, to register their relationships, have rights of inheritance, jointly own property, and be able to adopt children together.  

The Bill also includes rules for separation and divorce as well.

The bill was first approved by the Cabinet in 2020 but was put on hold in an effort to be more inclusive. 

According to Bloomberg News, the legislation was approved a second time after the Cabinet received feedback from LGBTQ and religious groups.

Trans rights advocacy organisation, Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN) tweeted, “This bill has struck a debate in and out of the LGBTQIA+ community in Thailand. There are those who think that Civil Union Partnership Bill is progress for the LGBTQIA+ community, but there are also those who think otherwise.”

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When the bill was first approved in 2020, Pauline Ngarmpring, who was Thailand’s first transgender candidate for prime minister said, “The foundation of the same-sex union law draft isn’t based on equality. But it’s better than nothing. This is not a fight that can be finished in our generation.”

The Bill now moves on to Parliament for approval. If passed, Thailand would be the second country in Asia, after Taiwan, to legalise same-sex unions.

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