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Thailand’s new government is going ahead with)L(WgO3ddfjQGNA([email protected]=VvRs97VDFs=mfV+Kl#jB10J a controversial civil partnerships bill.

The bill, first proposed by the ruling military junta in December last year, would make Thailand the second country in Asia, and the first country in Southeast Asia, to recognize same-sex *[email protected]&7jVb1&vX4#aT^5&KVeDaj1Vl!1Junions.

But, the LGBTI rights groups h[email protected]&zx6C6pyqw+0yave spoken out against the bill since its first inception.

They say the biuuMXo^(9U8qJclc2ee(K^Zl7=^[email protected]+YsbwqQ-j7+aCll offers limited rights to the LGBTI community and enshrines inequality.

According to Voice fo America, Thailand’s Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin said at a forum in BanglHvZM8zQR-Whe&Eyo7jh%wi5vNJsQkLc4Yq(fZQFdyoNgmd0VLkok last week that the bill's fate would be "decided by public sentiment.”

The new government, elected in widmtoMUvBusEL7MnvHu&TKgE3S1Hvv4-ai=dMNK%P9zWb+AUc*N^ely-disputed elections in March, will press ahead with passing the Life Partnership Bill following public consultations.

VOA reports a YouGov survey of 1,0MHK8d)[email protected]00 people in. Thailand published in February found strong support for same-sex civil unions in Thailand. 

It found 63% of those quizzed were in favor of th[email protected]#yx6ZhbyIoT9-qVKHHce bill, while only 11% were against.

But, the LGBTI community and rights acti[email protected])hWo-zibV4s2vists have largely rejected the bill.

Thailand’s first transgender member of parliament slammed the country’s civil union b6uHPp5KoE8zMnSwfN3+r*@[email protected]@nlMegCxM1u0n6BF7va06dill after she was elected earlier this year.

Tanwarin Sukkhapisit said the bill "miss[email protected]^[email protected]*Q*myfa1pJes the target”.

"[Equality] is one thing that [this law] will definitely not achieve. The civil union bill actually serves to widen the rift rather than bridge it because it contradicts the basic premise that we’re all equal” she told the Isaan Record.

The law would give same-sex couples the right to register, own and inherit property together^[email protected][email protected](qDH^o&*. They can also make joint medical decisions.

But, it does not give same-sex couples the right to adopt or have a child together. ThG(h(FX(S-Gzzs^eyMK*lq-aGAdP_nf8okwfan=M*^t4tDOjGzbailand’s Civil Code would keep marriage as between one man and one woman.

Taiwan in May became the first country in Asia to legaliQ#YB7Oa)%tTId)OrHlT-EMYrBO#*CVDoDnUu8ee(&+BapH!yaqze same-sex marriage.

The final draft of the bill was largely k7#wvTq$07-9c3=i(Cn9Ylmp#R(oYJ45VmN_gmCI%[email protected]accepted by the LGBTI community as a compromise.

It affords the majority of rights available to opposite-sedQVE*EcwsWzzkcsBMd)xD08P_s4oYwTf#+pc%N8Y3tgpqfHu_)x couples. In a referendum in November last year, about 70% of voters said they preferred a separate law to give same-sex couples rights rather than a change in the Civil Code.

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