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If the bill is approved, then Thailand will become the first Asian country to allow same-sex couples to enter into civil unions.

A new bill, which is being backed by Thailand’s cabinet would grant same-sex couples legal rights for the first time in the country’s history.

The Bangkok Post also reports that a government adviser, Nathporn Chatusripitak, has confirmed that same-sex couples will be able to adopt children following the passing of the bill. To quality, one person will have to be of Thai nationality, and both must be over the age of 20.

And changes to assets and estate will make same-sex unions virtually identical to mixed-sex unions. “The differences lie in entitlements to some forms of state welfare,” he said. “For example, the welfare for government officials covers their spouses. Another difference is personal income tax deductions.”

It was initially hoped that the bill would be passed before the country’s next general election, which is due to take place in February 2019. But it’s now reported that it is likely the new lawmakers will be the ones who give it final assent.

The main delay in voting is that there are currently 50 bills before the Thai parliament that need to be debated on voted on which have a higher priority.

The bill has divided opinion among LGBTQ activists. The journalist, Ryn Jirenuwat praised the bill, although acknowledging there will still more steps to take, writing: “Thailand cabinet today approved a draft of LGBT Civil Partnership Bill.

“The draft law will go to the National Legislative Assembly for further deliberation. A long, LONG way to go to get the LGBT gay marriage bill but it’s a leap forward.”

However, Matcha Phorn-in was a lot more critical, saying: “How can we support this law if this is another law that discriminates against us?

“We need LGBTIQ to be included and not [to have] a separate law that creates second-class citizens. If [the bill] is not approved, it will be easier to make [future] changes in the Civil Code.”