Major Step in Thailand: Parliament Passes Bill Moving Closer to Legalizing Same-sex Unions

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Major Step in Thailand: Parliament Passes Bill Moving Closer to Legalizing Same-Sex Unions

Thailand could join Taiwan, Nepal in legalising same-sex unions
Bill recognises marriage between 2 people regardless of gender
Only 10 lawmakers voted against bill

In a pivotal move towards legalizing same-sex marriages, Thailand's lower house of parliament has given its nod to a marriage equality bill. If the Senate and the king also approve the bill, Thailand will be the third territory in Asia to acknowledge same-sex marriages. This legislation, which has been under consideration for more than ten years, has managed to overcome political hurdles and disputes over its content. Thailand, known for its lively LGBT social scene and efforts to attract LGBT tourists, has always been a popular destination for same-sex couples. The bill could be enacted within 120 days following the king's approval.

Thailand edges closer to legalizing same-sex unions / Reuters 

In a significant move, Thailand's lower house of parliament approved a marriage equality bill on Wednesday, inching closer to becoming the third Asian territory to legalize same-sex marriages. The bill, which was supported by all major Thai parties and approved by 400 out of 415 present lawmakers, now awaits the Senate's approval and the king's endorsement to become a law.
Danuphorn Punnakanta, the head of the parliamentary committee on the draft bill, expressed that the action was taken to diminish societal inequality and promote fairness, inviting everyone to partake in this historic event.

This development bolsters Thailand's status as one of Asia's most progressive societies in terms of LGBT matters, where liberal and open attitudes exist alongside traditional, conservative Buddhist values. Thailand, with its dynamic LGBT social scene for both locals and expats and specific campaigns to attract LGBT tourists, has always been a favorite destination for same-sex couples.
Pending royal assent, the bill could be implemented within 120 days, joining Taiwan and Nepal as the first Asian territories to legalize same-sex unions.

The legislation, which has been in the pipeline for more than a decade, encountered delays due to political instability and disagreements on its content and strategy. In 2020, the Constitutional Court upheld that Thailand's current marriage law, recognizing only heterosexual couples, was constitutional, proposing that legislation should be broadened to safeguard the rights of other genders.
In December, the Parliament gave the green light to four different draft bills on same-sex marriage in the first reading and tasked a committee with consolidating them into a single draft.

What are the subsequent actions regarding the marriage equality legislation in Thailand? 

The progression involves securing approval from the Senate and endorsement from the monarch. Following Senate passage and royal endorsement, the legislation will become enforceable. These procedures are pivotal for the complete implementation of the bill and the lawful recognition of same-sex partnerships in Thailand.
The Senate will assess the legislation and cast their votes for its approval. Upon Senate consent, the bill will advance to the monarch for endorsement, a critical stage in Thailand's legislative process.
Upon successful completion of these stages, the legislation will formally be enacted, and same-sex marriages will attain legal status in Thailand. Implementation of the legislation is anticipated within 120 days following royal approval.
It's pertinent to note that the marriage equality legislation has already cleared the lower house of parliament, garnering support from all major Thai political factions. The current progress signals optimism for the bill's future, although the ultimate outcome hinges on the Senate's decision and the monarch's endorsement.

What is the significance of the king's involvement in the legislative process for bills in Thailand?

In Thailand, the monarch holds a pivotal role in the legislative process, particularly during the concluding phases of bill enactment. While primarily ceremonial, the king's role carries profound symbolic and constitutional weight.
After Parliament approves a bill, it is forwarded to the king for endorsement. Royal assent from the monarch is indispensable for the bill's transition into law. The king's endorsement symbolizes formal approval and acknowledgment of the bill's legitimacy.
Although the king's endorsement is usually viewed as a customary procedure, it remains a critical step in the legislative process. As per Thailand's constitution, bills must be presented to the monarch for royal assent within 90 days of parliamentary approval. The king holds the authority to either grant or withhold assent.
It's crucial to recognize that the king's role in the legislative process adheres to constitutional principles and historical conventions. The monarch's participation is grounded in Thailand's constitutional monarchy framework, which separates the monarch's role from routine governance and legislative deliberations.
In summary, the king's endorsement stands as a pivotal milestone in Thailand's legislative journey, marking the ultimate phase before a bill transforms into law.

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