This week saw Thailand taking major strides toward equality. On June 8, the country’s cabinet approved a new civil partnership bill that recognizes same-sex unions with almost the same legal rights as married heterosexuals — as long as at least one person in the couple is of Thai descent. The legislation has yet to pass parliament, but if it does, it will make Thailand the second country in Asia, after Taiwan, to allow same-sex unions. The bill also would allow for same-sex couples to adopt children, enjoy rights of inheritance, and have joint property management.
According to Ratchada Thanadirek, a deputy government spokesperson, “The Civil Partnership Bill is an important step for Thai society in promoting equal rights and supporting the rights of same-sex couples to build families and live as partners.”
It’s important to note, however, that while the bill essentially grants same-sex couples the same rights as married couples, it falls short of actually calling the union a “marriage.” For many, this might sound like an indefensible omission, but in Thailand the bill is still considered a major progressive step forward.
“What’s in a name? It’s the content that matters,” Kittinan Daramadhaj, president of Rainbow Sky Association of Thailand told Reuters. “‘Civil partnership’ shouldn’t distract from the fact that it’s about the legal registration of unions.”