Thailand’s cabinet approved a draft marriage-equality law, paving the way for the country’s parliament to consider the landmark bill that could make it the first Southeast Asian nation to legalize same-sex unions.
The new bill, which is expected to be considered by the parliament on Dec. 21, will give LGBTQ couples the same rights as heterosexual couples and strengthen diversity in Thai society, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin told reporters in Bangkok on Tuesday.
The marriage-equality bill is set to go a step further than the previous government’s civil union bill, which sought to recognize same-sex civil partnerships in Thailand. That bill would have allowed LGBTQ couples the right to adopt children, jointly manage assets and liabilities, and inherit properties, while stopping short of legalizing marriage. The bill failed to secure parliament nod as it was dissolved by then-prime minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha ahead of elections in May.
Only two places in Asia — Taiwan and Nepal — currently recognize same-sex marriage, among fewer than 40 countries worldwide.