Thai Senate Likely to Approve Landmark Same-Sex Marriage Bill

(Bloomberg) -- Thailand’s senate is set to approve a same-sex marriage bill on Tuesday, which will bring the country closer to being the first in Southeast Asia to guarantee equal rights for gay and lesbian couples.

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“The marriage equality bill will move toward the finish line,” deputy government spokeswoman Rudklao Suwankiri said in a statement Sunday. The bill, if passed, will be sent to the cabinet for approval and submitted for royal endorsement, a process seen as a mere formality.

Approval by both houses of the Thai parliament will effectively make the nation the first in the region to recognize same-sex marriage. Senators have previously expressed overwhelming support for the bill after it cleared the House of Representatives in a near unanimous vote in March.

The government plans to kick off a historic celebration on Tuesday evening with a parade set to march from the government house to a central business district in Bangkok.

The so-called marriage equality bill is technically an amendment to the country’s Civil and Commercial Code. The legislation will be effective 120 days after it’s published in the Royal Gazette.

When the changes come into force, Thailand will recognize marriage registrations of same-sex partners aged 18 and above, along with their rights to inheritance, tax allowances and child adoption, among others. Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s administration has made it a signature issue, and advocates say it would burnish Thailand’s reputation as an LGBTQ-friendly tourist destination.

Thailand will become the third place in Asia to recognize same-sex marriage, after Taiwan and Nepal, and rank among some 40 countries around the world to guarantee equal marital rights.

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