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Thailand is trying to revive a bill on gay rights

A Change.org petition has breathed life into gay marriage bill efforts for Thailand.

By Kawee Jarach, Pavisporn Potchana | Jun 05, 2017

  • Thailand is trying to revive a bill on gay rights
    Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0, Benson Kua
In the wake of Taiwan landmark steps that pave the way to legalize gay marriage, Thailand hopes to follow in the Asian island's footsteps, thereby bolstering its image as a safe haven for the LGBTQ community. 
 
After many years of stalling, Thailand's bill on gay rights, including gay marriage, has finally resurfaced after a petition on Change.org that received over 60,000 signatures.
 
Pitikan Sithidej, Director-General of the Department of Rights and Liberties Protection (RLPD) has promised to push for the bill to be discssed in parliament as a direct result of the Change.org petition. 
 
However, any decision from parliament is still a long way off. The National Human Rights Commission of Thailand (NHRC) explained that the bill's current status is still under discussion as to whether it can be pushed forward for approval.
 
In the past, efforts to legalize gay marriage in Thailand have met with stiff resistance. 
 
Despite the high social tolerance for LGBTQ people in the country, legal hassles persist, particularly with regards to property ownership and assets, tax deductions, inheritance rights, adoptions, and access to medical coverage—which are all granted to straight couples. 
 
While the details of any potential bill remain unclear, The Foundation of Transgender Alliance for Human Rights (TGA) and for- SOGI have completed a social reseach study and created an eight-point agenda on gay rights as follows:
  1.  A couple can register for a marriage license regardless of sex.
  2.  A Thai citizen can register for a marriage license with a non-Thai citizen, who is allowed to reside in Thailand and can apply for Thai citizenship.
  3.  Remove the obligation on engagement that is based on familial traditions.
  4.  The relationship between any two individuals must be respected and treated humanely.
  5.  Properties will be allocated in accordance with status before marriage, and shall be divided again if the two sides can come to an agreement after marriage.  
  6. Termination of relationship can be done if two sides come to an agreement.
  7. A married couple/a person registered under the law can adopt a child.
  8. A married couple registered under this law has the same legal and civil rights as any married couple.
If approved the bill is apporved, Thailand would become the first Southeast Asian nation to recognize homosexuals as equal on a socio-legal basis. 
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