Opposition Says Cabinet’s Same-Sex Marriage Bill Falls Short

LGBT activists campaign for the amendment to the Civil and Commercial Code at the parliament on Dec. 18, 2019.
LGBT activists campaign for the amendment to the Civil and Commercial Code at the parliament on Dec. 18, 2019.

BANGKOK — The bill to allow same-sex marriage was approved by the Cabinet on Wednesday, though opposition lawmakers said it would didn’t go far enough to ensure equality for LGBT couples.

Deputy government spokeswoman Ratchada Thanadirek said the Cabinet signed off on a draft civil partnership bill and the amendments to the Civil and Commercial Code that would guarantee legal protections for same-sex couples. The proposal will undergo public hearing and be put to a vote in the Parliament before it’s implemented.

“The draft civil partnership bill is an important step to promote gender equality in Thai society,” Ratchada said.

“It guarantees the rights of same-sex couples to form a family and it’s a legal instrument for them to manage their families like heterosexual couples,” she continued. “Although some of the rights may not be the same, we will monitor the effectiveness of the changes and plan other legal amendments to ensure compliance with relevant laws.”


Under the bill’s provisions, couples would need to be over 17 and at least one of them has to be a Thai citizen. Civil partners will have the same asset management and inheritance rights as heterosexual couples and they can adopt a child.

If one partner dies, the other may proceed with an instituted prosecution in his stead.

The amendments to the Civil and Commercial Code will prohibit marriage if one already has a civil partner and will allow them to file a divorce lawsuit, Ratchada added.

However, Move Forward MP Tanwarin Sukkhapisit said the government’s draft laws would further alienate LGBT couples since they are treated with different laws than heterosexual couples.

Tanwarin also added that the government’s proposals are different from what her party submitted to the Parliament.

“It creates more distinction and inequality between LGBT and heterosexual couples,” Tanwarin, who identifies as non-binary, said. “Why do they have to create another law for LGBT couples, since they can only amend … the civil code to allow marriage between two persons rather than a man and a woman?”

In June, the Move Forward Party submitted a bill proposing an amendment to the civil code to allow same sex marriage, citing the 2015 gender equlity act.


The lawmaker also accused the government of stealing thunder away from her party’s campaign on civil partnership.

“It’s different from what our party proposed,” Tanwarin said. “We oppose the Civil Partnership Bill since we see that the amendments to the civil code would be sufficient for LGBT people. This reflects that the government is still having prejudice against the LGBT people.”

Kittinun Daramadhaj, president of Rainbow Sky of Thailand, who helped write the approved bill, also told the Associated Press that some members of the LGBTQ community believe it does not go far enough to ensure equal rights.