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  Life   Travel  06 Jul 2024  Just a question of love, and Thai Pride!

Just a question of love, and Thai Pride!

Published : Jul 6, 2024, 1:46 pm IST
Updated : Jul 6, 2024, 1:46 pm IST

With same sex marriages now legal, Thailand positions itself as regional leader in LGBTQIA+ rights

Thailand Senate voted to pass the Thailand Same-Sex Marriage Bill
 Thailand Senate voted to pass the Thailand Same-Sex Marriage Bill

June 18 was a landmark day in Bangkok when the Thailand Senate voted overwhelmingly to pass the Thailand Same-Sex Marriage Bill after more than a decade on anvil.

The bill grants LGBTQ+ couples the same legal rights and recognition as heterosexual couples, including rights related to inheritance.

The bill will take effect after 120 days when it’s passed by the constitutional court, but this is now being considered a formality.

“We have come far in our journey towards social equality,” said Thai Prime Minster Shrettha Thavisin, after the bill was passed. Earlier, at the mega-gay parade on June 1, he wore a rainbow-coloured shirt and joined a massive parade of 200,000 people through the capital’s streets. In order to showcase Thailand as a welcoming destination for LGBTQ+ people, the Thai PM is working hard for a bid to host World Pride in 2030.

“This historic milestone positions Thailand as a leader in the region for LGBT rights, showcasing our commitment to equality and human rights,” said Panyaphon Phiphatkhunarnon, founder of Love Foundation which has been fighting for LGBT rights for many years. “It sends a powerful message to neighbouring countries and the international community about the importance of inclusivity and legal recognition for all,” he said.

“The equal marriage law is a very important change for Thailand,” said well-known gay film-maker Tannia Tanwarin Sukkapisit. “Ours is truly a country that is friendly to people of diverse genders, and this is the way forward for us.”

“The bill emphasises the inclusivity that is one of the core values long cherished in Thai society,” said Sakul Intakul, well-known floral and installation artist who has visited India many times to do the flower decorations.

Well-known gay activist Chumaporn ‘Waddao’ Taengkliang said that they had been fighting for their rights for more than 12 years. “This is the culmination of our efforts and the strength of public activism,” he said.

He added: “We believe that this milestone will not only inspire more international couples to register their marriages here but also spark movements in neighbouring countries to push for legal protections and rights for LGBTQ+ families. This is just the first step towards broader regional change.”

According to Wittaya of the Siam Pride travel agency, “The same sex marriage bill will have a significant positive effect on tourism in Thailand. This legislation not only marks a historic step towards equality and inclusiveness, but also positions Thailand as a pioneering country in Asia for LGBT rights.”

Veteran journalist-editor Naphalai Areesorn said with honesty, “Thailand has long been known for its seeming tolerance for gender diversity. But this ‘acceptance’ is often superficial. The legalisation of same-sex marriage in Thailand is a positive step towards protecting their basic rights and should be fully supported by all.”

Many Thai couples who have been living together for many years expressed their joy that they could finally get married. Among these were Prinn Vadhanavira and Chakkrit Vadhanavira who have been living together for 22 years and are finally waiting to make it legal.

Well-respected travel-writer and former hotelier Andrew J. Wood has lived 33 years in Thailand with his Thai male partner Pichai Visutriratana and said, “We are absolutely thrilled! The bill allows same-sex couples like ourselves, to formalise our relationship with the full protection of the law, ensuring equal rights in matters such as inheritance, healthcare, consent, and child adoption.”

The most honest and moving words came from Indian-origin editor-journalist Mrigaa Sethi, a long-term resident of Thailand, who is now in the US with her American wife, Eric Sweeney.

“I feel lucky to have come of age as a queer person in Thailand. The general atmosphere of tolerance was a wonderful thing for me. Things could have been very different for me had I grown up in India, where I am from, or the United States, where I live now with my wife, and where we are all set to start a family, within a legal framework.”

In fact, with the Marriage Equality Bill, Mrigaa felt that she might even return to live in Thailand with her wife and child.

This writer has been amazed by how open Thailand is to the gay community, which is why this bill is the final icing on the cake There are gay streets, bars, coffee-shops, and there is a free and healthy openness, which is why one meets gay diplomats, Ambassadors, CEOs, top artists, filmmakers, and of course tourists, including many from India.

Ever since the bill was passed, the city has been exploding with celebratory events, gay pride parties, film festivals, discounts at restaurants, malls, gyms, and “gay pride” posters everywhere.

One of the individuals celebrating the most is well-known Thai TV Host Woody Milintachinda, who “came out” nearly a decade back, married his partner, and now could share his happiness with his gay community.

No doubt, there are many more like him in Thailand which, after Taiwan and Nepal, is only the third country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage.

Tags: thailand same-sex marriage bill, lgbtq+ couples, thai prime minister shrettha thavisin