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ResourcesFamily LawMarriage RegistrationSame-Sex Civil Union Law may be Enacted in Thailand Soon

Same-Sex Civil Union Law may be Enacted in Thailand Soon

Transcript of the above video:

As the title to this video suggests we are going to be discussing same-sex marriage here in the Kingdom.

Up until now and actually at the time of this video, same sex marriage has not been legally recognized here in the Kingdom. That being said, as noted in a prior video, there are other jurisdictions here nearby, Taiwan notably, that are allowing same-sex unions. In fact Hong Kong recently had a court holding with respect to same-sex unions but with respect to Thailand specifically, there has yet to be a change.

I did a video a couple of months back where I talked that there had been proposals for a same-sex marriage law specifically a civil union law; that has yet to come to pass but in sort of an update with respect to that topic, this is from the Bangkok Post, BangkokPost.com, the title is “Single Sex Marriage Law on Way”. Quoting directly, "the Justice Ministry is expected to finish in September, considering the country's first ever Civil Partnership Bill to provide same-sex couples with similar rights to married couples." Quoting further, "The bill is now being vetted by the Ministry. We expect to finish considering it by the end of September. After that, it will be forwarded to the Cabinet for approval before being submitted to the National Legislative Assembly for deliberation, Miss Pitikan Sithidej, Chief of Rights and Liberties Protection Department said.” 

There is far more in this article than just that, so I urge those who are watching this video to go check out this article if you are interested in this topic to get some more details. What I take away from this is I think they are serious about this. I think there is going to be a Civil Union Bill that is going to be passed here in Thailand. I think it's going to happen relatively soon and I think once it does it is going to have pretty significant ramifications with respect to sort of knock-on legal rights and benefits. We saw this with the Windsor decision in the United States when the Supreme Court basically legalized same-sex unions in that jurisdiction. There were staggering results throughout the United States from things as sort of mundane as pension benefits to really serious stuff like the right to have a living will or the right of one civil partner to deal with the health and safety of their other partner. There are just huge amounts of, there is just a lot of legal rights and benefits that stem from marriage. Marriage is kind of a core institution, especially in Western legal thinking and when it was opened up to same-sex partners, that institution brought those folks sort of under that umbrella and allowed them to enjoy the same rights and benefits that different sex couples had. Let me be clear. There could be some interesting ramifications as this appears to be a Civil Union Bill, a civil partnership bill, as opposed to a full-on legal marriage situation. It appears, at least at the present time, they are not going to define same-sex unions as "marriages" but as "civil unions". This could have potentially negative consequences in a US Immigration context because it is my understanding of the laws of the States, foreign unions have to be a marriage in order to seek marriage visa benefits under the Immigration system of the United States so a civil union may not rise to the threshold necessary to meet the requirement of being legally married which is what is required to seek a marriage visa.  But that being said, and notwithstanding that a civil union may exist, if one is not legally married it may still be possible to seek something akin to a fiancée visa when going the United States. So at the end of the day, it might simply be just a matter of sort of legal tactics as opposed to the current situation which in my opinion, is not particularly beneficial for same-sex couples notwithstanding the fact Thailand is arguably the most tolerant jurisdiction of the LGBT community in all of Asia and I would say would be high, high on the list of most tolerant jurisdictions in the world. There has just yet to be legal recognition for those kind of folks, and those relationships between those folks. So where that sits in the future remains to be seen but I personally do believe that the Government is probably going to go ahead and pass something that will allow Civil Partnerships for same-sex couples here in the Kingdom.