Thailand passed historic same-sex marriage law

Pride parade in Bangkok, Thailand / Photo EPA-EFE/RUNGROJ YONGRIT

Thailand's upper house of parliament has passed a law on marriage equality, paving the way for Thailand to become the third country in Asia to recognize same-sex marriage after Nepal and Taiwan.

The law has received support from almost all members of the Upper House and will be sent to the palace to be approved by the king. It will enter into force 120 days after publication in the official gazette.

LGBTI rights advocates called the move a "huge step forward" as Thailand becomes the first country in Southeast Asia to pass a marriage equality law. Thailand is already known for its vibrant LGBTI culture and tolerance, making it a popular tourist destination.

"It will highlight Thailand's leadership in the region when it comes to promoting human rights and gender equality," the Civil Society Commission for Marriage Equality, activists and LGBTI couples announced.

The law is the culmination of more than ten years of efforts by activists and politicians, after previous drafts failed to reach parliament.

In early June, thousands of LGBTI activists and supporters marched through the streets of Bangkok, where they were joined by Prime Minister Sretta Thavisin, who wore a rainbow T-shirt to celebrate Pride Month.

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