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More rights for same-sex couples in partnership bill

More rights for same-sex couples in partnership bill

The Life Partnership Bill has been updated to recognise more rights for same-sex couples before it heads to the Cabinet for approval on Thursday.

The latest version of the bill now includes a phrase that says non-heterosexual couples have the right to “make medical decisions” and “hold a funeral” for their incapacitated or deceased spouse, both of which did not appear in the earlier version.

The adjustment was made by the Rights and Liberties Protection Department (RLPD) after it had considered concerns collected from hearing held in major cities and from its website.

LGBT media specialist Vitaya Saeng-aroon, however, said: “The bill mentions these rights as ‘examples’ [of the rights same-sex couples are entitled to] but without more details, how effective it is in practice is questionable.”

He believed the RLPD intended to test the water. If the Cabinet approves the revision, the bill will head to the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) where more revisions and details will follow, he said.

Despite a strong support from Thai nationals, the bill was viewed by many as incomplete, without recognising many rights enjoyed by straight couples, such as the right to adopt a child, receive the spouse’s public and private welfare, pension, civil-servant medical welfare, and spouse-status income tax deduction, among others.

The bill, however, recognises same-sex couples can jointly manage debts and assets, inherit their spouse’s assets, and become a guardian for their spouse.

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