Same-sex marriage in Thailand rejected by Constitutional Court or was it?

Same-sex marriage in Thailand has seemingly been rejected by the Thai Constitutional Court this week, causing international gay activists to call the ruling bigoted and exclusionary.

However, when the ruling is looked at more closely, it simply says Section 1448 of the Civil and Commercial Code, which seems to only allow for a man and woman to enter into a legal marriage, is not against people’s constitutional rights.

That does not then specifically rule against gay marriage. It is only the court ruling on Section 1448.

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However, along with the ruling, which was announced in a press release yesterday, the Constitutional Court also commented that parliament, the cabinet and other pertinent government organizations should draft a new law enabling the rights of everyone to be equally protected.

This should be done, the court says, regardless of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

In other words, it could be the members of the Consitutional Court are not against same-sex marriage in Thailand, they just believe it should not be ruled upon on the basis of Section 1448.

A section of the Thai legal code that is not specifically connected to gay rights, but instead rules on the minimum age for marriage:

A marriage can take place only when the man and woman have completed their seventeenth year of age. But the Court may, in case of having appropriate reason, allow them to marry before attaining such age.

It could be possible to assume from this ruling, therefore, that the Thai Constitutional Court believes Thai people of all sexual orientations would be better served with a specific law regarding marriage rights.

A law that is not open to misinterpretation and that states everyone, including anyone who identifies as LGBTQ, has the same right to enter into a legal marriage in Thailand.

In other words, more rulings on this issue are likely to be made in the near future, and it is possible those in the LGBTQ community who are disappointed with this week’s ruling may not have cause to be for much longer.

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