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Thai cabinet backs bill allowing same-sex unions

If passed, Thailand would follow Taiwan as the second place in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.

 

By Patpicha Tanakasempipat

 

Reuters (08.07.2020) – https://bit.ly/3jc6bPx – Thailand’s cabinet approved a civil partnership bill on Wednesday that would recognise same-sex unions with almost the same legal rights as married couples, in one of the most liberal moves yet for a largely conservative nation known for its tolerance.

 

If passed by parliament, the legislation would make Thailand only the second place in Asia to allow registration of same-sex unions, with couples able to adopt a child and afforded rights to inheritance and joint property ownership.

 

“The Civil Partnership Bill is an important step for Thai society in promoting equal rights and supporting the rights of same-sex couples to build families and live as partners,” Ratchada Thanadirek, a deputy government spokeswoman, wrote on Facebook.

 

The bill, however, stipulates that one party in a same-sex union must be Thai.

 

A largely conservative Buddhist society, Thailand has a reputation for openness and free-wheeling attitudes.

 

It has long been a draw for same-sex couples, with a vibrant lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender social scene for locals and expatriates, and targeted campaigns to attract LGBT travellers.

 

The bill was introduced in 2018 but the previous legislature was unable to pass it before last year’s election.

 

Taiwan last year became the first place in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. Vietnam has decriminalised same-sex weddings but does not recognise unions of the same sex.

 

Kittinan Daramadhaj, president of Rainbow Sky Association of Thailand, said the bill essentially allows same-sex couples to marry but stops short of calling it a “marriage”, which is legally defined as being between a man and woman.

 

“What’s in a name? It’s the content that matters,” he told Reuters.

 

“‘Civil partnership’ shouldn’t distract from the fact that it’s about the legal registration of unions.”

 

Kittinan said the bill, if passed, would “sufficiently alleviate pains and support the human rights of LGBT people”.

 

A Thai lawmaker representing LGBT groups is pushing separately for marriage to be redefined as being between “two persons”.





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Montenegro legalises same-sex civil partnerships

The Balkan country is the first European country outside Western Europe and the European Union to legally recognise gay and lesbian couples.

 

By Rachel Savage

 

Thomson Reuters Foundation (01.07.2020) – https://bit.ly/2O02Fcs – Montenegro voted to legalise same-sex civil partnerships on Wednesday, becoming the first European country outside of Western Europe and the European Union to legally recognise gay and lesbian couples.

 

The law received 42 votes in the 81-seat parliament, Blanka Radosevic Marovic, a director in the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, after it was rejected by parliament in July 2019.

 

The vote in the Balkan country, which is in advanced negotiations to join the European Union, was welcomed by its leaders on Twitter as affirming “European values”.

 

“A great step in the right direction for (Montenegro) society, its democratic maturity and integration processes,” Prime Minister Dusko Markovic tweeted.

 

Montenegro “is one step closer to joining the most developed world democracies,” President Milo Dukanovic said on Twitter. “Born free and equal in dignity and rights!”

 

The country, with a population of about 620,000 people, becomes the 32nd United Nations member to recognise some form of civil partnership for same-sex couples. Gay and lesbian couples can marry in 28 U.N. countries.

 

Three Serbian lesbian couples launched legal cases last year challenging their country’s lack of same-sex civil partnerships, while Bosnia’s government is considering whether to introduce similar legislation.

 

LGBT+ campaigners welcomed the law, which will come into force in a year’s time after regulations have been finalised and government clerks trained.

 

“I honestly I wasn’t expecting it,” said John Barac, executive director of LGBT Forum Progress, an advocacy group. “It’s really extraordinary, it’s a big day for all of us.”

 

Montenegro’s government has promoted LGBT+ rights with an “action plan” for 2019-2023 including proposals such as anti-discrimination training for police and health workers but faced opposition from a socially conservative society.

 

Opposing members of parliament described same-sex civil partnerships as imposed by “global world Satanists” during the lawmakers’ debates on Tuesday, Barac said.

 

Lawmakers who opposed the bill did not vote on Wednesday, a spokesman for Montenegro’s prime minister said.


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