Thailand Parliament Moves Bill To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage: What's Next?

Thailand is on the brink of enshrining same-sex marriage into law with resounding support from the lower house of parliament. The bill advocating for same-sex marriage sailed through its final reading, signaling the nation's stance on LGBTQ rights.

Oshi Saxena
New Update

Image Credit - Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters

Thailand's House of Representatives has voted to pass a groundbreaking bill that legalizes same-sex marriage, marking a significant step forward in the nation's journey towards equality and human rights. This landmark decision sets Thailand on the path to becoming the first Southeast Asian country to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples, heralding a new era of inclusivity and progress in the region.


With an overwhelming majority of 400 in favor and merely 10 in opposition, the lower house of Thailand's parliament has ushered in a new era of inclusivity by passing the same-sex marriage bill in its final reading. Now, on the cusp of fruition, this bill awaits the scrutiny of the country's Senate and the revered endorsement of the king before ascending into law. Should it receive the royal nod, Thailand will stand tall as a trailblazer, becoming only the third Asian nation to legalize gay marriage.

The Road Ahead

While the passage of the bill through the House of Representatives is undeniably significant, it is important to recognise that there are still procedural steps to be taken before it becomes law. The bill  now moves to the Senate, where it will undergo further deliberation and scrutiny. Within the next 60 days, the Senate will have the opportunity to either approve the bill or propose amendments. Following Senate approval, the bill will then be subject to review by the Constitutional Court, ensuring its alignment with the principles enshrined in Thailand's constitution. Finally, upon receiving royal endorsement, the bill will officially become law, granting same-sex couples the right to marry and access the legal recognition and protections afforded to heterosexual couples.

Towards Gender Neutrality

Central to the same-sex marriage bill is the revision of antiquated terminology within existing matrimonial laws. By substituting gender-neutral terms for archaic distinctions such as "men" and "women," "husbands" and "wives," the legislation strives to reflect the diverse spectrum of relationships that constitute modern Thai society. Moreover, it extends crucial rights pertaining to inheritance and adoption to LGBTQ+ couples, aligning them with their heterosexual counterparts.

While Thailand has long been celebrated for its hospitality towards the international LGBTQ+ community, the journey towards legal recognition has not been without its obstacles. Activists have struggled with entrenched conservative attitudes and institutional barriers, yet their resilience and advocacy have propelled this momentous milestone forward. Despite past legal setbacks, the passage of this bill highlights a seismic shift in societal attitudes towards inclusivity and acceptance.


Implications for Southeast Asia

Thailand's bold move to legalize same-sex marriage carries profound implications not only for its own citizens but also for the broader Southeast Asian region. With only Taiwan and Nepal preceding Thailand in legalizing same-sex marriage within the Asian continent, the imminent enactment of this legislation heralds a new chapter in the global struggle for LGBTQ+ rights. 

As the first country in Southeast Asia to take this monumental step, Thailand also sets a precedent for its neighbors, showing that progress towards LGBTQ+ rights is not only feasible but also essential in fostering a more inclusive and equitable society. By embracing diversity and affirming the rights of all individuals, the nation paves the way for other nations in the region to follow suit, catalyzing a domino effect of positive change across Southeast Asia.

gender neutrality LGBTQ community Thailand Same sex marriage bill Southeast Asia