Photo: X/Twitter [@Thavisin]

In a “monumental step forward for LGBTQ+ rights”, Thailand is set to make history as the first nation in Southeast Asia to legalise same-sex marriage.

On 18 June, 130 senators voted in favour (with only four opposing the bill) to enact marriage equality, which would make Thailand the third territory in Asia after Nepal and Taiwan to do so.

Before it can be officially passed, Thailand’s king Maha Vajiralongkorn needs to endorse the bill. However, the process is considered a formality, and it is expected to be granted.

Same-sex marriage will then come into force 120 days after it is published in the royal gazette.

In Thailand’s parliament, lawmakers and activists could be seen celebrating the historic news with rainbow flags, while some raised their fists in unification with the LGBTQIA+ community.

Panyaphon Phiphatkhunarnon, founder of the LGBTQIA+ organisation Love Foundation, told CNN: “The bill represents a monumental step forward for LGBTQ+ rights in Thailand.

“The potential impact of this bill is immense. It would not only change the lives of countless couples but also contribute to a more just and equitable society for all.”

Plaifah Kyoka Shodladd, a member of the parliamentary committee on same-sex marriage, said “we are proud to make history”: “Today love triumphed prejudice.

“After fighting for more than 20 years, today we can say that this country has marriage equality.”

Photo: X/Twitter [@Thavisin]

The Equal Marriage Act will grant LGBTQIA+ couples the same financial, legal and medical rights as heterosexual couples, from inheritance to adoption and decisions on healthcare.

Panyaphon added: “Beyond the legal implications, the passage of this bill would send a powerful message of acceptance and inclusion.

“It would inspire the younger generation to come out and live their lives authentically, it would showcase Thailand as a progressive and inclusive country – attracting tourists and businesses … and will foster a culture change where LGBTQ+ individuals feel accepted and supported.”

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, a vocal ally to the LGBTQIA+ community, celebrated the passing of the bill at his official residence at the Government House of Thailand.

“I am proud of the collective effort of all stakeholders which reiterates the power of “unity in diversity” of the Thai society,” he wrote on Twitter, also known as X.

“We will continue our fight for social rights for all people regardless of their status. As we celebrate today, we are proud to be a Pride Friendly Destination and look forward to bringing World Pride to Thailand in 2030.”