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A petition proposing amendments to the Civil Commercial Code to allow marriage between LGBTQ couples has gained over 100,000 signatures overnight after it was launched during Sunday night’s demonstration (28 November).

Protesters flashed the three-finger salute during Sunday night's demonstration

The petition proposes to amend Article 1448 of the Civil Commercial Code, which governs marriage, so that marriage registration is allowed between two people of any gender, instead of only between a man and a woman. It also proposed to raise the age at which people can legally marry from 17 to 18 years old.

The petition also proposes to replace the terms “man” and “woman” in every article of the Civil and Commercial Code relating to marriage with “person,” as well as to replace “husband” and “wife” with “spouse” and “father” and “mother” with “parents.”

The amendments will grant LGBTQ couples the same rights, duties, and legal recognition as heterosexual couples, including the right to adopt a child together and be recognized as the child’s parents, the right to have the power of attorney to make medical decisions of behalf of one’s partner and to press charges on behalf of one’s partner, the right to use one’s partner’s last name, and the right to inherit property from each other without the need for a will.

The rationale of the proposed amendments says that gender-neutral language is used so that the same rights, duties, and legal recognition are granted to persons of every gender and sexuality.

As of 19.50.00 today (29 November), the petition has over 150,000 signatures, more than ten times the number legally required for a bill from the citizenry to be put before parliament.

Protesters gathering at the Ratchaprasong Intersection on Sunday

A protest to campaign for marriage equality took place at the Ratchaprasong intersection on Sunday night (28 November), organized by the Rainbow Coalition for Marriage Equality, a network of around 40 civil society organizations and activist groups. The petition was launched during the protest.

A group of protesters who called themselves “the Ungendered” said that they wanted to join the protest to support the call for marriage equality. The group asked why Thai people still have to wait, even though LGBTQ couples are already allowed to get married in many other countries, and why everyone cannot be granted the same rights even though we are all humans.

One member of the group said that, even though they are still young and have not fully felt the impact of the lack of marriage rights, but there are many other LGBTQ couples in Thailand who would like to register their marriage but are not able to, and that being able to register their marriage would mean they are able to access the benefits and rights to which married couples are entitled. They said that they hope the effort to amend Article 1448 is successful and hope to learn more from joining the protest.

Meanwhile, Mo, who works for a civil society organization, said that the pro-democracy movement and the movement for gender equality should go together. She said that she found Sunday’s event interesting in that there were also campaigns for the release of detained activists and the repeal of the royal defamation law, which she said should be included in every protest.

Mo said that attending the protest is a way of standing by the most fundamental principle of equality regardless of gender.

“I think that the struggle is something that we have to fight in the long term. No change comes easy. We have to keep fighting, but the fact that everyone came to the protest today is already a show of force that we all want to see change,” Mo said.

As part of the campaign for marriage equality, a protester dressed in a wedding dress and stood on top of scaffolding wrapped in clothes in the colour of the LGBTQ Pride flag.

The campaign and the protest came after the Constitutional Court ruled on 17 November that the current marriage law does not violate the Constitution, but observed that parliament, the cabinet, and other relevant agencies should draft legislation to grant rights to LGBTQ people.

The ruling was made after a petition filed by Permsap Sae-Ung and Puangphet Hengkham was forwarded to the Constitutional Court by the Central Juvenile and Family Court to rule whether Article 1448 violates Sections 25, 26, or 27 of the Constitution.

Under Section 27 of the 2017 Constitution, all persons are “equal before the law, and shall have rights and liberties and be protected equally under the law.” This section also states that “unjust discrimination against a person on the grounds of differences in origin, race, language, sex, age, disability, physical or health condition, personal status, economic and social standing, religious belief, education, or political view which is not contrary to the provisions of the Constitution, or on any other grounds shall not be permitted.”

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