Thailand becomes first Southeast Asia to approve same-s3x marriage

Thailand has become the first country in Southeast Asia to legalize same-sex marriage following a historic parliamentary vote, (TNG) reports.

The Senate upper house pulled a total vote of 130, four against, and 18 abstentions, to amend the marriage law enabling same-sex couples to marry.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn will receive the bill for royal approval, and it will be effected 120 days after being published in the official Royal Gazette.

Thailand will join Taiwan and Nepal as the third Asian destination where same-sex couples can tie the knot, with activists eyeing possible wedding ceremonies starting in October.

“We are very proud of everyone involved in this historic moment. You have helped to bring about a massive change.

“Today love wins over prejudice,” an LGBTQ activist and member of the committee that scrutinized the law, Plaifah Kyoka Shodladd, told senators after the vote.

Ahead of the vote, Tunyawaj Kamolwongwat, an MP with the progressive Move Forward Party, stated that the change in the law was “a victory for the people”.

The recent legislation replaces mentions of “men,” “women,” “husbands,” and “wives” in marriage laws with gender-neutral terminology.

It also grants same-sex couples equal rights to heterosexual couples regarding adoption and inheritance.

“My partner has one boy and I want to have legal rights to formally adopt him as my child and to have a say about his well-being. This bill will allow it,” Kevin Pehthai Thanomkhet, 30, told AFP.

A staunch supporter of the LGBTQ community and the bill,  Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin will host celebrations at his official residence, welcoming activists and supporters later on.

Activists are also planning an evening rally featuring a drag show in central Bangkok, where large shopping malls have been displaying the rainbow flag in support since the beginning of Pride Month in June.

Thailand has long enjoyed a reputation for its tolerance of the LGBTQ community, and opinion polls reported in local media show overwhelming public support for marriage equality.

More than 30 countries worldwide have legalized same-sex marriage since the Netherlands celebrated the first union in 2001.

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