Thai LGBT activists celebrate vote that brings marriage equality closer

Thai LGBT activists celebrate vote that brings marriage equality closer
Waaddao Chumaporn, 40, and Siritata Ninlapruek, 45, react after the passing of the marriage equality bill in its first reading by the Senate, which will effectively make Thailand Asia's third territory to legalise same-sex unions, in Bangkok, Thailand, April 2, 2024.
PHOTO: Reuters

BANGKOK — Thai LGBT activists celebrated another victory on Tuesday (April 2) after a marriage equality bill overwhelmingly passed a first reading in the upper house, a key step bringing the country closer to becoming Asia's third territory to legalise same-sex unions.

"It's like we've been embraced and accepted by the people in the entire country," said Waaddao Chumaporn, 40, an LGBT activist and spokesperson for the parliamentary committee for the bill, calling it the "best gift of our lives".

"It sends a signal to the Southeast Asian region, where the fundamentals are deeply rooted in conservative views."

The bill sailed through the Senate's first reading in a 147-4 vote, prior to second and third readings due in July. If approved, it will be sent to the royal palace for the king's assent before it becomes law within 120 days.

Other activists on the committee pumped their fists and celebrated with each other after the vote.

Last month, 96 per cent of the lower house passed the bill in a landmark move.

"We see that the needle has moved closer towards our goal," said Siritata Ninlapruek, 45, who waved a rainbow flag, exulting as the vote count was read.

[embed]https://youtu.be/vElEzPQfqZY?si=by9GslxU9xXINPqZ[/embed]

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