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Thailand passes landmark bill, to become first country in Southeast Asia to recognise same-sex marriage

Bangkok [Thailand]: As Thailand's Senate passed a marriage equality bill, the move has now paved the way for the country to become the first nation in Southeast Asia to recognize same-sex marriages, reported Al Jazeera.

In its final reading on Tuesday, the upper house passed the bill with 130 votes in favour, 4 against, and 18 abstentions from the 152 members present.

The measure will now go to King Maha Vajiralongkorn for formal approval, which is most likely to be approved. 120 days after it is published in the royal gazette, it will become operative, according to Al Jazeera.

After Taiwan and Nepal, Thailand will be the third Asian country to allow homosexual marriage if the law goes into effect.
Gay rights activists hailed the action as a "monumental step forward."

Legislation renames "men," "women," "husbands," and "wives" to gender-neutral words and defines marriage as a partnership between two people. Inheritance and adoption rights for LGBTQ couples would be equivalent to those of heterosexual marriages, reported Al Jazeera.

Although Thailand is renowned for its thriving LGBTQ community and acceptance, activists have battled against traditional beliefs for many years.

Laws that do not acknowledge transgender and nonbinary people have drawn criticism from many quarters.

"We are very proud to make history," said Plaifah Kyoka Shodladd, a member of a parliamentary committee on same-sex marriage, according to Al Jazeera.

In the National Assembly, politicians and activists were spotted having a good time. Some were seen raising their fists in support of the LGBTQ community and waving rainbow flags, following the bill was passed, according to Al Jazeera report.

Just 10 of the 415 sitting legislators voted against the bill when it was enacted by the lower house in March, making it almost unanimous.

For festivities, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, who has been outspoken in his support of the LGBTQ community and the proposal, will welcome activists and supporters inside his official house. 

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