The Thai Parliament passed 4 similar marriage equality bills this past Thursday, December 21. The vote was 360 to 10, with one abstention, which means there will certainly be LGBTQ+ marriages in Thailand next year. The bills sweep away distinctions between types of marriages.
There are still steps to be taken. A 39-member committee will now turn the 4 bills into one and Parliament will vote again, and then a third and final time. The bill will then be presented to the King. When he signs it, marriages can be registered. There is no timeline for these next steps, but considering the support this has, we can expect to celebrate early next year.
This will make Thailand the third country in Asia after Taiwan and Nepal to recognize gay marriages.
Analysts say that rapid social change has motivated the government to take action after stalling for several years. The government's own polls show that 96% of the people now favor recognition of LGBT marriages.
Details are vague and there will be struggles for a while about things like taxes, international couples (like Pramote and me), and land ownership rights by members of extended families. It'll take time.
But now we will celebrate. December 21, the longest night of the year got brighter last night to dispel some of the darkness.
Rev. Dr. Kenneth Dobson posts his weekly reflections on this blog.