Thailand gets closer to recognizing same-sex unions

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BANGKOK, THAILAND: Thai gays march in an annual "Gay Pride" parade on Silom road downtown Bangkok, 21 November 2004. Thai transvestites and homosexuals joined the parade along with some western counterparts at the end of their week long celebrations. AFP PHOTO/ SAEED KHAN (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Thailand’s government is set to legally recognize same-sex civil partnerships by the end of this year and if it happens, Thailand will become the first Asian country where same-sex unions are legal. The bill will be discussed in public hearings this week and the results of the discussion are to be presented to the cabinet by the end of this month. Homosexuality has been legal in Thailand since 1956, which is earlier than in most European countries. Last year, the highest court in Taiwan stated that restricting unions to heterosexual couples was unconstitutional, and ruled that same-sex marriage would automatically pass into law in May 2019 if parliament does not hold a referendum before then. It was decided to hold the referendum on November 24.The referendum announced by the Central Election Commission could throw a roadblock in the way of reforms by creating a new segregated form of legal union for same-sex couples, and reserving the existing marriage law for “a man and a woman.”

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