House of Representatives passes a Gay Marriage law. Legislators next will tackle legalising Prostitution. Historic strides in human rights anticipated as PM Srettha’s government leads the charge. Bipartisan cooperation heralded. Move Forward Party takes centre stage. A rare moment of cross-party political success and progress.

Thailand’s lower house on Wednesday finalised a gay marriage law which now goes to the Senate. Members of the House Committee in Parliament celebrated as did leading political figures. The new law is part of a trio of measures centred on human rights for all Thai people. These are being pushed by the government of Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin. At length, they include a new gender identity law and quite significantly, a law to legalise prostitution in the country.

On Wednesday afternoon, Mr Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit (centre) issued a warm and effusive statement applauding the passage of a gay marriage law by the House of Representatives. In addition to congratulating lawmakers for their bi-partisan cooperation, he also praised the public. At the same time, key committee members who guided the measure through parliament gathered in high spirits to address the media (inset left). However, the Move Forward Party is now expected to table a law to legalise prostitution in Thailand (inset right), which has the support of the Prime Minister.

On Wednesday afternoon in Bangkok, top political leaders congratulated each other. It came after the kingdom’s lower house passed a gay marriage provision.

Those leading the applause included Paetongtarn Shinawatra, the leader of the Pheu Thai Party and Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, the leader of the Progressive movement.

In parliament itself, the Equal Marriage Committee celebrated the bill’s passage.

Its members emphasised it was a historic day for all Thai people. At this point, Senate discussion on the measure will begin on April 2.

Progressive leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit expressed his delight at the passage of the law. He was proud of the bilateral political co–cooperation shown

The Progressive movement leader Mr Thanathorn praised a spirit of unique bipartisan cooperation for passage of the measure.

On March 27, 2024, at Parliament, Mr Danuporn Punnakanta, the Pheu Thai party-list MP and chairman of the Equal Marriage Committee, along with other members, held a press conference after the bill’s approval in the House of Representatives.

Certainly, Mr Danuporn stressed the law’s inclusivity.

‘This law was written for all Thai people, to restore the rights of LGBTQ people,’ he declared. He highlighted benefits like medical treatment and tax rights.

Provision must still go before the conservative senate although the Pheu Thai list MP who championed it in parliament is confident of its passage into law

The bill’s journey is not quite over. It must still be discussed by Thailand’s upper house or Senate.

This conservative body was hand-picked by the former military junta in 2019. Its term expires on May 11th next.

However, Mr Danuporn anticipates Senate approval, signalling progress towards social equality.

Plans for gender identity and sex worker bills are now on the horizon for Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s government.

In the coming days, the Move Forward Party is expected to put forward its new law on prostitution in Thailand.

In short, it will decriminalise the activity and in addition, provide a legal framework for the commercial sale of sex services.

Full steam ahead on LGBTQ rights in Thailand, new gender identity law ordered by the PM at cabinet 
Government reviewing prostitution laws, public consultations expected in 2021 amid reform calls from workers

Undoubtedly, this bill will face stiff opposition in parliament. 

In truth, some in Pheu Thai and conservative coalition government MPs may baulk at the provisions which are still quite controversial.

Prime Minister has already endorsed the bill legalising prostitution in Thailand as part of a programme strengthening the human rights of the vulnerable

Undoubtedly, the bill legalising prostitution has already been endorsed by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin as part of a collection of measures.

In effect, these laws are being seen as fundamental to the human rights of all involved.

Consequently, Move Forward Party MP Thanyawat Kamolwongwat has high hopes.

‘The bill that we have finished drafting would allow businesses to offer sex work. Also, sex workers could run their businesses under legal protection as currently, as currently, they are running businesses while being exploited by state authorities, business operators and even clients,’ she declared in January.

Nonetheless, the praise in the aftermath of Wednesday’s achievement continued.

Former Future Forward Party leader also praised the wider public and heralded the passage of a gay marriage law in Thailand as a sign of real progress

Mr Thanathorn furthermore praised strong public support. He explicitly highlighted a bipartisan effort on social media. In brief, he lauded the bill’s passage as a victory for equality. 

Significantly, Thailand is quite a conservative country with traditional values. The passage of a gay marriage law and proposed new laws indicate the influence of a more educated and open-minded generation attuned to Western, liberal values.

Certainly, the proposed new sex services law will find itself opposed. At length, a combination of feminist groups and ardent conservatives may see the provision impeded. 

At the same time, the Move Forward Party, the successor to Mr Thanathorn’s Future Forward Party played a critical role in Wednesday’s historic outcome.

The kingdom’s largest party in parliament provided momentum and weight behind the bill’s passage. Similarly, it is expected to do the same for the law on prostitution. 

The progressive leader, on Wednesday, said the gay marriage law demonstrated his party’s commitment to progress in Thailand. Thanathorn expressed pride in the collective effort behind it.

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Further reading:

Government reviewing prostitution laws, public consultations expected in 2021 amid reform calls from workers

Full steam ahead on LGBTQ rights in Thailand, new gender identity law ordered by the PM at cabinet

Gay and LGBT people in Thailand on the verge of same sex partnership era with progressive reforms

Police probing murder-suicide theory after the bodies of two lesbian lovers were found at Pattaya hotel resort

Underworld surrogacy trade exposed, man arrested for smuggling semen from Thailand into Laos