Thailand Says "I Do" to Same-Sex Marriage

11 Jul 2024
WRITTEN BY:pictureThanong A

Hold onto your rainbow flags, folks! Thailand has just made history by legalizing same-sex marriage, becoming the first country in Southeast Asia and the second in all of Asia to do so. This monumental step forward for LGBTQ+ rights is more than just a legal win; it's a colorful splash of progress in a region where many still face significant challenges for being who they are.


A Long Road to Victory

The journey to this point has been anything but smooth. The Marriage Equality Bill, which amends Thailand's Civil and Commercial Code to replace gender-specific terms with inclusive language, was passed by the Thai Senate on June 18, 2024, after overwhelming support from the House of Representatives in March. This means terms like “man” and “woman” are out, and “person” and “spouse” are in​.

Now, the bill awaits the royal nod from King Maha Vajiralongkorn. Once it gets the green light and is published in the Royal Gazette, it will take effect in 120 days​​. Mark your calendars, because come fall, same-sex couples in Thailand will be able to tie the knot legally.


This legal change isn't just a local affair; it puts Thailand on the global map as a progressive beacon for LGBTQ+ rights. In a region where neighboring countries often criminalize homosexuality, Thailand's bold move is a breath of fresh air​​. For instance, while Singapore recently decriminalized homosexuality, it remains staunchly against same-sex marriage​​. Malaysia and Indonesia continue to enforce harsh penalties against LGBTQ+ individuals, making Thailand's step forward all the more significant.


Public sentiment in Thailand has been strongly supportive of this change. According to a Pew Research Center survey, 60% of Thai adults back the legalization of same-sex marriage​​. This widespread acceptance reflects Thailand's reputation as a welcoming and inclusive society for LGBTQ+ individuals, further boosted by the vibrant Bangkok Pride festival and state-endorsed celebrations of diversity​.


While this is a huge win, activists emphasize that the fight isn't over. Issues like legal gender recognition for transgender individuals and protections against discrimination still need addressing. The new law's use of gendered terms like “father” and “mother” instead of the more inclusive “parent” has also raised some concerns​​. But with the progressive Move Forward Party leading the charge, there's hope that these issues will be tackled in due course​.


Thailand's landmark decision is expected to inspire further advocacy and legal reforms across Asia. As Neela Ghoshal of Outright International aptly put it, this move “bucks the stereotype that equality is a Western agenda or imposition”​​. It's a powerful message that equality and acceptance are universal values, not bound by geography or culture.



Thailand's legalization of same-sex marriage is a cause for celebration and a reminder of the power of persistent advocacy. It's a testament to the resilience of the LGBTQ+ community and a beacon of hope for many still fighting for their rights around the world. So, here's to love, equality, and the beautiful diversity that makes our world so vibrant.

Wave those flags high, because love just won a monumental victory in Thailand!

For more details, check out the original sources here, here, and here.