Marriage law amendments now up for public consultation

The Thai parliament on 2 July invited public consultation on the proposed amendments to the sections on marriage and family in the Thai Civil and Commercial Code which will allow LGBT couples to get married.

The bill to amend the Civil and Commercial Code, which was posted on Parliament’s public consultation website, proposes that the terminology used in the law be changed to use “spouses” instead of “husband” and “wife” and “person” instead of “man” and “woman.”

The bill also proposes to raise the age at which a person can legally marry from 17 to 18 years.

The proposed amendments will allow individuals to be legally married regardless of gender, and ensure that they receive equal rights, duties, and protection under the law. If the bill passes, LGBT couples who have registered their marriage will be able to adopt children together, make medical decisions on behalf of their partner, and in cases where one partner dies, the other will be able to inherit from their partner and make legal decisions about their partner’s assets.

The proposal states that the current marriage law violates Section 27 of the current constitution, since limiting the right to register marriage to heterosexual couples can be considered gender-based discrimination and should be changed so that every person receives equal rights and protection under the law.

The bill was proposed by Move Forward Party MP Tunyawat Kamolwongwat and was opened for public consultation according to Section 77 of the Constitution, which states “Prior to the enactment of every law, the State should conduct consultation with stakeholders, analyse any impacts that may occur from the law thoroughly and systematically, and should also disclose the results of the consultation and analysis to the public, and take them into consideration at every stage of the legislative process.”

Thai citizens may participate in the survey on Parliament’s public consultation platform (https://www.parliament.go.th/section77/survey_detail.php?id=94).

As of 7 July, 47847 people have participated in the survey. The hashtags #สมรสเท่าเทียม (#marriageequality) and #LGBTQ also briefly trended on Twitter on Monday night (6 July) as netizens called on each other to show their support for the bill.

The Ministry of Justice’s Rights and Liberties Protection Department has also previously proposed a Civil Partnership Bill, which has long faced criticism from NGOs and LGBT rights activists for not giving same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples, and is seen as relegating the LGBT community to the position of second-class citizens.