Thailand takes first step to legalize same-sex unions

Bangkok, Jun 15 (EFE).- Thailand’s parliament passed a proposal aimed at legalizing same-sex marriages after its initial reading Wednesday, in a first step to make it only the second Asian state to accept such unions.

The first reading of and vote on the bill presented by the opposition Move Forward party and another backed by the ruling conservative coalition passed by a 210-180 vote margin with 12 abstentions.

The project championed by Move Forward seeks to legalize same-sex marriages and grant the same rights as those between men and a women, while the proposal presented by the coalition will allow same-sex couples to register their relationship and receive the same rights and privileges as heterosexual couples.

“Thailand has to change. People in power know that equal marriage has to happen one day. Why not today?” Move Forward Party lawmaker Thanyawat Kamolwongwat said.

The government coalition, which has a narrow majority in the legislature, has previously expressed its rejection of the progressive party’s proposal.

“Removing (the words) man-woman from the law is affecting the rights of the nation’s men and women who still want to keep these words,” said Paiboon Nititawan, deputy leader of the Palang Pracharat, the biggest party in the coalition.

The start of the debates and the scheduled first votes open the way for one of the bills – which need to be approved three times in parliament – to become law on an unspecified date.

A group of LGBT activists gathered outside the parliament with rainbow flags Wednesday in support of the marriage equality proposal.

Taiwan became the first Asian country to legalize same-sex unions in 2019. EFE


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