What does it mean for the local LGBTI community?
Thailand is moving forward in recognizing same-sex couples.
Today the cabinet approved the first draft of a bill regulating civil partnerships. This paves the way for Thailand to become the first country in Asia to endorse same-sex marriage.
In the current version of the bill, same-sex couples may adopt children if they are 20 years old at least and hold a Thai passport. Moreover, in terms of assets and estate, the Civil and Commercial Code will apply mutatis mutandis, making the union very similar to that of heterosexual couples, www.bangkokpost.com reports.
A civil union ends by death, voluntary separation or court order.
What’s next for Thailand?
The next step will see the cabinet sending the draft to the National Legislative Assembly (NLA).
‘NLA will vote whether they will accept this law for discussion and recommendation or not. If they vote to accept, they can make an amendment if they need to. Then they will vote to pass it as law,’ journalist Ryn Jirenuwat told Gay Star News.
If it is passed, it will be announced in the Royal Gazette and will take effect 120 days later.
Jirenuwat also said that it is unpredictable to say whether the NLA will pass it as law, but ‘they might want some popularity for the next general election that will be held in February’.
Still great news?
‘Thailand cabinet today approved a draft of LGBT Civil Partnership Bill,’ Jirenuwat tweeted.
‘The draft law will go to the National Legislative Assembly for further deliberation. A long, LONG way to go to get the LGBT gay marriage bill but it’s a leap forward. Still a GREAT NEWS!’
However, some LGBTI activists aren’t impressed by the news.
They have called for the bill to be dropped, and for the Civil Code amended to allow full marriage equality.
‘How can we support this law if this is another law that discriminates against us?’ said Matcha Phorn-in, a Thai LGBTI rights activist.
‘We need LGBTIQ to be included and not [to have] a separate law that creates second-class citizens. If [the bill] is not approved, it will be easier to make [future] changes in the Civil Code.’
Remove anti-LGBTI textbooks from Thailand’s schools, urge campaigners
Health education materials in schools say LGBTI individuals should go to the psychiatrist
Campaigners in Thailand want the government to remove textbooks from 30,000 schools that label LGBTI people as abnormal.
Campaigners handed letters to the country’s gender discrimination watchdog on Tuesday (9 October).
‘Students are learning from these textbooks that we [LGBT] people are abnormal’, activist Parit Chomchen told the Nation.
In their letter, activists urged the watchdog, known as Wor Lor Por, to scrutinize textbooks in Thai secondary and high schools.
‘The health education textbooks advise students to keep their LGBT friends at arm’s length’, another LGBTI activist Naiyana Suphapung.
Activists hope Wor Lor Por will urge the education ministry to change the books within a year.
Thailand’s Gender Equality Act of 2015 forbids discriminatory content from schools. But, the education ministry told the Nation, some textbooks bough prior to the legislation have not yet been replaced.
The health education textbook in questions advises children to ‘know and act according to the appropriate and normal gender roles’.
The books say women should wear skirts and do housework while men should play sports like boxing and football.
It also advises parents to take LGBTI kids to psychiatrists.
Grade 6 student, Suphanut, also handed in a letter to the rights body on Tuesday, according to the Nation.
‘I am straight but I don’t play football and am not that ‘manly’’, he said. ‘I am different from what is believed to be a man, that’s why my friends think I’m not straight and I was even a target for bullies’.