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Thailand to Be First Southeast Asian Country to Recognize Same-sex Marriage

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Thailand to Be First Southeast Asian Country to Recognize Same-sex Marriage

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BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand’s Senate passed the final reading of a marriage equality law on Tuesday, paving the way for it to become the first country in Southeast Asia to recognize same-sex couples.

The bill, the culmination of more than two decades of efforts by activists, was supported by an overwhelming majority of lawmakers in the upper house.

The law, which needs royal approval, will come into force 120 days after it is published in the royal gazette, meaning the first same-sex weddings could take place later this year.

“Today we celebrate another significant milestone in the journey of our Equal Marriage Bill,” Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said in a post on X. “We will continue our fight for social rights for all people regardless of their status.”

LGBT advocates called the move a “monumental step forward,” as Thailand would be the first nation in Southeast Asia to enact marriage equality legislation and the third in Asia, after Nepal and Taiwan.

“We are very proud to make history,” said Plaifah Kyoka Shodladd, member of a parliamentary committee on same-sex marriage.

Lawmakers and activists were seen celebrating in Thailand’s parliament, waving rainbow flags and smiling, with some raising their fists in solidarity with the LGBT community.

Thailand, one of Asia’s most popular tourist destinations, is already known for its LGBT culture and tolerance.

At the start of June, thousands of revelers and activists paraded through the streets of Bangkok and were joined by Prime Minister Srettha, who wore a rainbow shirt to celebrate Pride Month.

“This would underscore Thailand’s leadership in the region in promoting human rights and gender equality,” the Civil Society Commission of marriage equality, activists and LGBTQI couples said in a statement.

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