The reception held at the US Ambassador’s Residence on June 26 to honour Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month fully supported LGBT rights and same-sex marriage. During the reception, Mr. Danai Linjongrat, Director of the Rainbow Sky Association of Thailand, told Prachatai that Thailand doesn’t have to be in a hurry to the goal of legalizing same-sex marriage.
“I can’t say how many years it will take to achieve the final goal. Calm down and don’t be in a hurry,” said Danai. He said that a movement to legalize same-sex marriage started just three or four years ago in Thailand. “It’s been not long, compared to the US. They have been working on it for a long time.”
According to Danai, the official LGBT network started about 10 years ago in Thailand. Before that there were independent organizations, but it was only then that this network became established on a large scale.
“People tend to say our government still remains the same compared to other countries. However the Thai government is progressing too. It’s just because we in Thailand have our own way to the goal.”
Mr. Danai Linjongrut
Danai also mentioned the importance of the marriage law as fundamental in society. Since marriage is one of the big events in one’s life and it is culturally important in Thai society that the couple should be accepted by all around them, so the law can be a symbol of society.
“We must consider carefully what impact a new marriage system will have on society, but we must obtain at least the same rights as male-female couples.”
The issue of same-sex marriage in Thailand mainly deals with the law and constitution. While the constitution says that human rights shall equally be protected irrespective of sex, and that men and women shall enjoy the equal rights, Section 1458 of the Thai Civil and Commercial Code says “a marriage can take place only if the man and woman agree to take each other as husband and wife”.
Currently the Civil Partnership Act, the draft bill to allow same-sex couples the same civil rights as heterosexual couples, was proposed by the House of Representatives of Thailand, and a public hearing was held on April 19.
However since the draft does not give exactly the same rights as the current law gives to heterosexual couples, there is a difference of opinion between people who support the bill and those who don’t. (LINK: http://prachatai.com/journal/2013/04/46349)
Danai explained that one side wants to change all articles of the Thai Civil and Commercial Code referring to family law to reflect the diversity in society, and others suggest a completely new law, the Civil Partnership Act, that people of all genders can use.
“We activists should carefully consider settling this issue,” said Danai. “I personally prefer to modify the Thai Civil and Commercial Code, but the new form must be in the interest of all the public.”
The reception at the Ambassador’s Residence fully supported LGBT rights and same-sex marriage, following the LGBT Pride Month 2013 in June in the US. Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, first declared LGBT Pride Month in recognition of the historical Stonewall riots in June 1969.
“Each one of us is unique and different,” US Ambassador to Thailand Kristie A. Kenney said in her opening speech. “I strongly believe human rights are LGBT rights, and LGBT rights are human rights too.”
The US Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney
They are the same
The US Flag with LGBT Color