Thailand set to legalize same-sex unions

BANGKOK -- Thailand may have a reputation for acceptance when it comes to the transgender females that perform in the capital's extravagant cabaret shows, but the country's legal system, like many in Southeast Asia, has traditionally been less accommodating to the LGBT community.

This appears to be changing, however, as the junta aims to prepare a bill that would effectively recognize same-sex unions by the end of this year.

Thais have already begun embracing the change. Last year, Krungthai-AXA Life Insurance revised policy terms to allow same-sex partners to be named as beneficiaries. This came on the heels of a gender equality law enacted in 2015 that banned corporate policies and rules discriminatory to LGBT people, punishing violators with fines and prison.

The bill that the Thai government is expected to pass will lead to a civil partnership act that recognizes same-sex unions. Existing law only recognizes heterosexual marriage and does not allow an individual in a same-sex relationship to receive the body of a dead partner, nor does it provide the same rights in regards to inheriting the partner's assets. The military government aims to pass the bill before the next general election, slated for as early as next February. Still, it is not a complete win for the Thai LGBT community. The new law, dubbed the Civil Partnership Act, would still restrict some rights to heterosexual couples. Read more via Nikkei Asia Review