Thailand: Advances in Asia on LGBTI rights

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The Military Board that governs Thailand, has approved a project that legalizes civil union between same-sex couples, being the first Asian country to do so


Thailand: Advances in Asia on LGBTI rights

While other countries in Asia and the rest of the world prohibit, and even punish with death penalty, being homosexual, Thailand has taken a step towards modernity by approving a project that legalizes civil union between same-sex couples, following other countries that little by little they have been recognizing and granting rights to this community.

Leer en español: Tailandia: avances en Asia en los derechos LGBTI

Although it still has to be processed in the National Legislative Assembly, the project has the backing of the military government and is currently reviewed by the State Council, to be presented to the parliament with the purpose of there being approved for it finally become law.

What is the project?

According to the portal Europa Press, the text establishes 20 years old as the minimum age to be able to carry out the civil union, stating that at least one of the two spouses must have Thai nationality. Likewise, the current version of the project opens the door to adoption, according to sources from the prime minister's office cited by the 'Bangkok Post'. These sources emphasize that homosexual couples will have access to practically the same benefits as heterosexual couples, with the exception of certain tax deductions and grants.


The aim of the Thai government is that the union between same-sex couples be legal before the general elections, which will be held in February 2019. By doing this, Thailand will be the first country in Asia to endorse homosexuals they can marry and form a family, as it already happens in several countries of the world.


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What happens in other countries in Asia?


Asia is still far from recognizing the rights of the LGBTI community. The prohibition and criminalization of these people is the common denominator in that continent, where in most countries they are persecuted and punished.


On the other hand, Taiwan plans to decide, in May 2019, on how to approve unions between same-sex couples, considering that previously, in various referendums, citizens showed their support for gay unions, but refuse to recognize them as 'marriages'.


The newspaper El País of Spain reported that in September 2018 the Supreme Court of India decided, unanimously, the decriminalization of homosexuality between adults. The Spanish newspaper says that the historic ruling establishes that "sexual relations between homosexual adults, in private, do not constitute an offense" and that any rule that pursues these practices is "discriminatory and a violation of constitutional principles."


Read also: Latin America: The ongoing struggle to reclaim the rights of the LGBTI community


However, this is something insignificant compared to what in the XXI Century continues to happen in Asia. A report published this year by the International Association of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transsexuals and Intersex (ILGA, for its acronym in English) , quoted by the news agency EFE, speaks of a significant number of countries in which homosexuals they are forced to hide their sexual orientation, their rights are restricted, they are imprisoned or even sentenced to death.


ILGA also refers to 22 nations where there are laws that prevent the promotion or public expression of realities about same-sex relationships , and 25 more that prevent or put barriers to the creation of organizations defending LGBTI rights in their territories. Likewise, it highlights 72 countries that criminalize sexual activity between people of the same sex (in 45 of them the law applies to both men and women).


And the most severe: the death penalty is valid in countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia, which apply throughout the territory. To this is added the actions of the Islamic State, an organization that punishes with death those sexual minorities in the territories it controls, especially in northern Syria and northwestern Iraq.


In four other countries (Pakistan, Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar) the death penalty is technically permitted by an interpretation of Islamic law (Sharia), although it does not apply . Finally, the expansion of the Islamic State has also derived laws of morality or propaganda, which have a religious base and already exist in at least 19 countries.


LatinAmerican Post | Samuel Augusto Gallego Suárez

Translated from "Tailandia: avances en Asia en los derechos LGBTI"

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