Team of NGOs and lawyers to ask Constitutional Court to rule on marriage law

A team of lawyers from NSP Legal Office, together with the Foundation for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Rights and Justice (For-SOGI), is preparing to file a request with the Constitutional Court of Thailand to rule whether Article 1448 of the Civil and Commercial Code, the law which governs marriage, is in contradiction to Section 27 of the 2017 Constitution.

(Source: NSP Legal Office)

Article 1448 of the Civil and Commercial Code states that “a marriage can take place only when the man and woman have completed their seventeenth year of age.” When a same-sex couple was denied marriage registration, they filed a complaint with the Ombudsman to rule whether Article 1448 is in contradiction to Section 27 of the 2017 Constitution, which states that “all persons are equal before the law, and shall have rights and liberties and be protected equally under the law” and that “unjust discrimination against a person on the grounds of differences in origin, race, language, sex, age, disability, physical or health condition, personal status, economic and social standing, religious belief, education, or political view which is not contrary to the provisions of the Constitution, or on any other grounds shall not be permitted.”

However, the Ombudsman ruled that, according to Article 1448, marriage can only be contracted between a man and a woman, and that because the law only considers the gender a person is assigned at birth, it is not considered gender-based discrimination which would be a violation of the Constitution. The Ombudsman therefore would not file a request for a Constitutional Court ruling. In addition, since the Rights and Liberties Protection Department is already in the process of drafting a civil partnership bill, the Ombudsman dismissed the couple’s complaint.

For-SOGI and NSP Legal Office are therefore filing a direct request with the Constitutional Court to rule on the constitutionality of the current marriage law.