As Thailand gets wrapped in the euphoria of its popular holiday, Loy Kratong, the Thai Constitutional Supreme court hit us with a couple of vicious punches.
The first was a decision a few days ago that effectively elevated any public discussion of Thai royalty reform to the level of a criminal attempt to destroy the country. The second decision, handed down Thursday, declared that article 1448 of the current constitution is valid when it limits marriage to one male and one female. This delegitimizes any other forms of marriage and refuses to recognize sexual and gender diverse relationships. That brings to an end the efforts of LGBTIQA+ and human-rights groups to have article 1448 declared inconsistent with other articles which affirm equal rights to “everyone.”
“We are staggered but not knocked out,” was the reaction of activists and the alert part of the younger generation (below the age of 40, when they can begin to be taken seriously). It means that the Constitutional Supreme Court still steadfastly defends the elite and the status quo the royalist-military has set up.
So, with regard to marriage equality, efforts now turn to getting article 1448 changed. It’s not far-fetched. Key people in the government have promised to do that. It will depend on getting them back working on it and recruiting advocates who can neutralize enough of the opposition. It’s doable. Just remove the words “between a man and a woman.” It was always the strongest option.
Meanwhile, Loy Kratong is upon us. Fire crackers and hot air balloons take all our attention even if big parades and mass events have been cancelled by COVID.
Rev. Dr. Kenneth Dobson posts his weekly reflections on this blog.