Thailand cabinet believes same-sex unions must be approved

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Thailand’s cabinet has backed a draft bill to create an option for gay and lesbian couples to enter civil unions. The Financial Times reports that Thailand’s ruling military junta has approved a bill that would mean that same-sex partners had the same legal rights as spouses, even though same-sex marriages were quite unlikely to have been approved in this Asian country, at least not in the nearest future. If the bill is approved by the country’s Parliament, Thailand could become the first country in Asia to provide equal legal rights for same-sex and opposite-sex couples. If passed, the bill would permit couples over the age of 20 to enter a civil partnership in Thailand, though marriage and adoption rights are not mentioned so far. There is no clear timetable for the bill to go before the Thai Parliament, but crucial elections are set to be held in February 2019, and the FT reports that the bill is likely to require final assent from the newly-elected lawmakers.Homosexuality has been legal in Thailand since 1956. The country introduced discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity in 2015, and attitudes towards LGBT+ people are typically less hostile than in the rest of Asia.

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