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MPs from the Move Forward Party (MFP) have re-submitted the Marriage Equality bill to parliament to prevent the bill from being automatically dismissed. It is part of a set of legislation on diversity proposed by the party.

The Marriage Equality bill was first proposed by MFP MPs during the last parliament. It was placed on the agenda in November 2020 and faced repeated delays before passing its first reading on 15 June 2022 along with a Civil Partnership bill proposed by the Ministry of Justice and endorsed by the Cabinet and the Office of the Council of State. Both bills were then forwarded to an ad-hoc committee, but were not returned to parliament in time for their second and third readings before parliament was dissolved.

Under Thai law, the Cabinet has 60 days from the opening of parliament to request parliament to reconsider any bill that lapsed after parliament was dissolved. Since parliament opened on 3 July, the cabinet has until 3 September to restore the Marriage Equality bill to parliament.

The Marriage Equality bill proposes to amend the Civil and Commercial Code to use “spouse” instead of “husband” and “wife” and “person” instead of “man” and “woman.” It also proposes to raise the age at which a person can legally marry without parental consent or court permission from 17 to 18 years old.

If enacted, the bill would allow two individuals to be legally married regardless of gender, and ensure that they receive equal rights, duties, and protection under the law. LGBTQ couples who register their marriage will be able to adopt children together, make medical decisions on behalf of their partner, and in cases where one partner dies, the other will be able to inherit from their partner and make legal decisions about their partner’s assets.

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MFP MP Tunyawaj Kamolwongwat, who proposed the bill, said that the Party is proposing the bill again because the current situation is uncertain and a cabinet might not be appointed in time to request parliament to reconsider the bill. If the cabinet does not resubmit the bill to parliament within the 60-day time limit, the bill will be automatically dismissed. Tanyawaj said that because of this, MFP is proposing the bill again to ensure that it will not be dismissed.

Marriage equality is one of the 23 key issues mentioned in the memorandum of understanding signed by the 8-party coalition, which included MFP and the Pheu Thai Party. When Pheu Thai parted ways with MFP and dissolved the coalition on 2 August to attempt to form its own government coalition, it promised to work with other parties to enact the legislation promised by the 8-party coalition, including a marriage equality law.

MFP MP Parit Wacharasindhu  said that the party is planning to propose 14 laws in line with the 300 policies proposed during the election campaign, and yestetday (9 August), the party is submitting 9 bills to parliament, including the Marriage Equality bill and another bill on gender recognition and protection of LGBTQ people.

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