News / Asia

Thai Same-Sex Marriage Bill Not Without Controversy

Thai Same-Sex Marriage Bill Not Without Controversyi
X
May 22, 2013 3:49 PM
As the debate on same-sex marriage continues in Western nations, including the United States, Thailand could become the first country in Asia to legalize gay marriage. Thailand is known for its liberal acceptance of sexuality, but the draft same-sex marriage law is not without controversy. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Bangkok.
Thai Same-Sex Marriage Bill Not Without Controversy
Daniel Schearf
As the debate on same-sex marriage continues in Western nations, including the United States, Thailand could become the first country in Asia to legalize gay marriage.  Thailand is known for its liberal acceptance of sexuality, but the draft same-sex marriage law is not without controversy.   
 
This is a traditional Thai wedding, except there is no groom.  There are two brides.
 
This ceremony is only symbolic because Thailand, like all of Asia, does not recognize same sex marriage.
 
But a draft law later this year could change that and make Thailand the first Asian nation to legalize gay marriage.
 
Nonetheless, Arisa Thanommek and her partner Pacharee Hungsabut say they were not interested in waiting. "We...we [will] not wait. Because we [are] ready.  Our family is ready," she said. 
 
Thailand has never outlawed homosexuality and many people say the Buddhist culture promotes more acceptance of sexual differences.
 
But, a survey conducted last year indicates 58 percent of the Thai public still holds traditional beliefs that same-sex marriage is not natural and sets a bad example for children.
 
Wirat Kalayasiri is a member of the Thai parliament and deputy director of the committee drafting the same-sex law.  
 
He says the average age of lawmakers, older than 45, has made the promotion of the law more difficult.
 
"There are groups that do not agree, elderly people who do not understand the feelings of those people.  A second group are those with strict religious beliefs such as Roman Catholic or Islam which are quite strict on this issue," he said. 
 
  • Parents watch same-sex brides Arisa Thanommek and Pacharee Hungsabut exchange rings at their ceremony in Bangkok, May 19, 2013. (Daniel Schearf/VOA)
  • Brides get anointed at the traditional wedding ceremony. (Daniel Schearf/VOA)
  • Buddhist monks bless the brides. (Daniel Schearf/VOA)
  • Overlooking the gift plate of cash at the traditional Thai ceremony. (Daniel Schearf/VOA)
  • Family and guests line up to pour water on brides' hands at the ceremony in Bangkok. (Daniel Schearf/VOA)
  • Same-sex brides Arisa Thanommek and Pacharee Hungsabut. (Daniel Schearf/VOA)

The debate began last year when Nathee Theerarojanapong and his boyfriend of more than two decades tried to marry, but were rejected.
 
He and other activists took the case to lawmakers and created a momentum they are confident could soon make history, and not only in Asia.
 
"We will lead America.  For this issue, for sure.  Your country will take quite a while.  But, for us, I think…next year or maybe a few years, we will get it.  I believe.  One hundred percent sure," he sid. 
 
But critics say the same-sex marriage law, as drafted, is still more separate than equal.
 
Although it allows most of the same legal benefits and decision-making rights as heterosexual couples, the age of consent is raised from 17 to 20 years old.
 
Activists also say a gender-neutral law would be more appropriate to prevent transgender people being forced into a male or female category that not everyone would agree with.  

You May Like

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Video One Year After Massacre, Iraq’s Yazidis a Broken People

Minority community still recovering from devastating assault by IS militants which spurred massive outrage More

‘Malvertisements’ Undermine Internet Trust

Hackers increasingly prey on users' trust of major websites to delivery malicious software More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs