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On the Civil Partnership bill in Thailand H&P Family lawyers in Bangkok

On 25th of December 2018, Thai cabinet has approved the new draft civil partnership act as proposed by the Ministry of Justice. The bill requires an approval from Thai parliament, National Legislative Assembly (NLA), later on. Thailand will be the first country to legally recognize same-sex partnership in Asia if the parliament approves the bill.

After years of drafting and conducting public hearing, the recently approved bill was reduced from 70 sections to 44 sections. The definition of term “partner” as prescribed under Civil partnership bill is two persons of the same sex by birth who registered under this act.

The bill giving same-sex couple the same right of property, inheritance, medical treatment decision and arrangement for the funeral of the deceased partner, void and termination of civil partnership as married couple under Thailand Civil and Commercial code.

However, the bill does not include right to surrogacy and adoption as these were prescribed in separated act, it would take longer time to make an amendment of each act. As of now these rights only available for those who legally married under civil and commercial act.

Due to the term “partner” same-gender partners only possess right to register unions not right to marriage. Furthermore, the law and regulations do not provide citizen with civil partnership status and marriage status the same benefits. As a result, same-gender partners are given limited rights prescribed by the bill, not to mention inequality of right that same-gender partners are given compare to married couples. Without begin recognized as married, same-gender partners are not subject to rights under other regulations such as tax allowance, right to use the same last name and other government welfares.

LGBT advocate group in Thailand is of an opinion that the fact Civil Partnership bill was enacted separately from marriage section under Civil and Commercial code is somehow showing discrimination against same-gender partners and emphasizing double-standard treatment towards LGBT people. Considering fundamental right under Thai constitution, all Thai people shall enjoy equal protection under the same constitution not being treated differently because of their gender or sexual orientation. Therefore, the easiest way out is to make an amendment from the term “man and woman” in Civil and Commercial code, marriage section, to “two persons without any sexual bias”.

The Civil partnership bill is a huge milestone not only for LGBT community but also general public, paving the way to create equality without anyone being treated differently due to their sexuality under the same constitution. After being approved by the parliament, it will be announced in the Royal Gazette and come into force after 120 days.

For more information on Civil partnership and marriage in Thailand, contact our Bangkok lawyers at [email protected]

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