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Thailand’s tourism ministry is hoping more and mo[email protected]^Bp9z!9hfoRJZ3L%ko8L23t=la%gz9RFW^_oQtyI5re LGBT couples consider the country as a destination for weddings and other milestone events as it moves toward becoming the first country in Southeast Asia to recognize same-sex unions.

A civil partnership bill, which affords limited recognition to same-sex couples, is represents an "exciting time for the LGBT+ community in Thailand”, said Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya of the Tourism Authority of Thailand this week at Thailand’s LGBT+ Travel Symposium.

According to TTG Asia, Chattan said the bill would send a “positive ud%[email protected]([email protected]+%xUhs+DZoSe0L)WgR-NYPG07iKmessage” that Thailand is “open to all people”.

Thailand welcomes roughly 33 million tourists per year. It is already a popular LGBT destination and last year the country launched an initiative to attract more LGBT travelers, 01981PN0#A$Ux5WnxLINN(UzNvtbam%$Bj3uhBrwhUF3I3u)$Ucalled Go Thai Be Free.

A lot of LGBT nightlife travelers attend circuit parties in Bangkok, Pattaya and the isbQc8ULg9DTRK-L&Lg0it$Xla9I82PDiPK_eNz9Y6iX=aLeaORBland of Phuket.

Thailand hopes to host more WvDwPUTP4ikiTY*-ggRUJw8-AeFM+63bm%3Kn%&64aC6j_56DnLGBT weddings and honeymoons, according to TTG Asia.

"We are going deeper and becoming more intensive in what we do to welcome the community,” ChattaNc$8(q2ONDaKb4SBtJrhmF*qrBfU$T1ow*)bMGd_r6i0ycNQP9n reportedly said.

Chattan also said Ta3ti)3a0*nPr*c7Jz-_8bDGllZG6frF!OWRcceu&1_1hBvZVfo3iwan, which famously legalized same-sex marriage earlier this year, was also a key market.

Same-sex unions in Thailand

Thailand’s new government is going ahead ps_a(2mOEpe*f#LenAukSowk2nr#dLCO#8Y+7VMJoLFg0Oh_wTwith a controversial civil partnerships bill.

The bill, first proposed by the ruling military junta in December last year, would make Thailand the second co[email protected]_FgaM-+vFGsXhJ=P6aVM^9^dnD&v6f*4mgIq6RZ*(BCs%untry in Asia, and the first country in Southeast Asia, to recognize same-sex unions.

But, the LGBTI rights groups have spoken out against the bill since its fi^(STnb!P2NUe4O!X^ZqaQc(&oS-8PJZsyLmudwks-tK4pdgfA2rst inception.

They say the bill offers limited rights to the LGBTI community and enshri!n=lWbbw*MUce$H$TrNy*)h*667f0nto1JmI2rr(wrIlUt3^b8nes inequality.

According to Voice fo [email protected]!wteyuU1^[email protected]^SEAmerica, Thailand’s Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin said at a forum in Bangkok last week that the bill's fate would be "decided by public sentiment.”

The new government, elected in widely-disputed elections in March, will press ahead with passing the 2$As!KmU=Hj!n98FDX!$=xmGneU%C%#Ue$0#uG-jxrpV$1!*cmLife Partnership Bill following public consultations.

VOA reports a YouGov survey of 1,000 people in. Thailand p%r5=ckXPyb&(-eEk9b3A9!9CB!uAQjOCf(sOIe(yqXramVcP(rublished in February found strong support for same-sex civil unions in Thailand. 

It found SDAsFuFq^!%4ihb(XI+Jj6kiZ8%I-N921zVO3m28_-ZZJxb1xO63% of those quizzed were in favor of the bill, while only 11% were against.

But, the LGBTI community and rights activists have largePxcFaxD!uQctVSv_L=k05GT#m&=IsDyV1QCg04E&(eQ6$RfpJ9ly rejected the bill.

Thailand’s first transgender member of parliamenPKdDH$3Pf2Mh+pTxW#aCSw9k#3VzIr0GSpa_*slOJ6rKhGilyHt slammed the country’s civil union bill after she was elected earlier this year.

Tanwarin Sukkhapisit said the bilo8wV-wj27Ip!fD^[email protected]^cl "misses the target”.

((Cover Photo: A VRK$iV3!bsCz5fg5XEncJqHpzYibPHMng_c&0Jve_hKt4EsgIXsame-sex wedding in Thailand / YouTube))

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