Cabinet endorses civil partnership bill

In this Jan 25 file photo, models pose at a fashion show held at the LGBT Expo in Bangkok. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The cabinet has approved the civil partnership bill, paving the way for Thailand to become the first country in Asia to endorse same-sex marriage.

In the current version of the bill, same-sex couples may adopt children, Nathporn Chatusripitak, an adviser to the Minister to Prime Minister's Office, said on Tuesday.

They must be at least 20 years old and one of them must have Thai nationality. The union ends by death, voluntary separation or court order.

In terms of assets and estate, the Civil and Commercial Code will apply mutatis mutandis, making the union very similar to that of heterosexual couples.

"The differences lie in entitlements to some forms of state welfare. For example, the welfare for government officials covers their spouses. Another difference is personal income tax deductions," he said.

The issue of children is not in the bill but is already covered in the child adoption law.  

"The union means they can legitimately adopt a child," he said.

The bill will next go to the National Legislative Assembly (NLA). If it is passed, it will be announced in the Royal Gazette and will take effect 120 days later.

It is uncertain the bill will be passed during the term of the NLA, which will stop working on Feb 15, seven days before the general election, if it is held on Feb 24. It already has a backlog of 50 bills to be deliberated by priority.

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