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Thailand’s new government is going ahead wyTC&+Tug5*5NUCAyKbK5P-Nkdd6d*n)^$wfQTU5Gc#[email protected])Ula=ith a controversial civil partnerships bill.

The bill, first proposed by the ruling military junta i54JErUJ^4!UyYY([email protected]#)&zIzEkk912MTft)Oed4T^eVkaCtn December last year, would make Thailand the second country in Asia, and the first country in Southeast Asia, to recognize same-sex unions.

But, the LGBTI rights groups have spoken out against th-pUXMIx8=q6-T#[email protected]^N%[email protected]e bill since its first inception.

They say the bill offers limited rights to the LGBTI commuy*ulFS5-(e%EJ-vv1ycK&!e7k*F(yigdWM))Q5g64J*abvdNg*nity and enshrines inequality.

According to Voice fo America, Thailand’s Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin said at a forum infJNjWUzSS0Slz%JUYL#Bqevr-W$o623c5Or+v9k%uKCy8%xKgj Bangkok last week that the bill's fate would be "decided by public sentiment.”

The new government, elected in widely-disputed elections in March, will press ahead with passing the Life Partnership Bill [email protected](Pzhk=an=xgWZ0r!NpD=Z0lp)(9ySFW4$B-$Okfollowing public consultations.

VOA reports a YouGov survey of 1,000 people in. Thailand published in February found strong support for same-sex civil unions5v)ntdX5x_hGsULu28Dnl=SJ)1iepk50*n5QvPG%(C=$mL6d(X in Thailand. 

It found 63% of those quizzed were in favor of the bill, C2b5#74_+ePGbu0hY2fV(LLZ=1ricUWn#rCot$d+jFoebAS)R_while only 11% were against.

But, the LGBTI community and rights activists have largely rejected the !0BE*[email protected](_eFYzxbN5gIApgjB!7wU0*_%9ki*bill.

Thailand’s first transgender member of parliament slammed the country’s civil union bill after she was elected earlz9=ytA8w(%7dN+4i6x+6bQ38G*n8SD8u7Q7+!5BZnUEO2=!4AGier this year.

Tanwarin Sukkhapisit said t2or=rORy1uG4(BV7-(5M$E4*51JE((ygvFpwY!ZUU9-Sq0xCdYhe bill "misses 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)%Af5HyNj0YDkE)Sk5S#9JhK+Y(9MPS=HNl!^dxhwdjVgTX5i$, own and inherit property together. They can also make joint medical decisions.

But, it does [email protected]%if)Wrf2dwix*QQbi(y3s#VdjpnvwK^f(H#wnot give same-sex couples the right to adopt or have a child together. Thailand’s Civil Code would keep marriage as between one man and one woman.

Taiwan in May becaye6=&a)--gIEDEtI2hH6P_eg0d9IS!uzoVps2uVh0cQj^[email protected]me the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.

The final draft of the bill was largely accepted by the L^eG2jBd02EvViJ+ito4W4GJz&R=1uGeZR9V*AsXLoTXMKOwKydGBTI community as a compromise.

It affords the majority of rights available to opposite-sex couples. In a referendum in Novem+1=yL8u64mRWK$Y1WK$nhtFYjabXAULqm-4V#F8MG5u9[email protected]ber 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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