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Thailand’s tourism ministry is hoping more and more LGBT couples consider the country as aEs4y_Qa7lzdFW)1T&oh#YukvOET4#D46It*5q(^GxKxlCxTLTR 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 t[email protected]!m!)tNnGp3#[email protected]@PEuKs16K6j%)^@he bill would send a “positive message” that Thailand is “open to all people”.

Thailand welcomes roughly 33 million tourists per year. It is already a popular LGBT destination and last yearAywAHm$*apD!q-OrW%W^st9kmSu_geW1+WdQDMnpN12wf9Sg)P the country launched an initiative to attract more LGBT travelers, called Go Thai Be Free.

A lot of LGBT nightlife travelers attend circuit[email protected]=#^&kl1h^YDYFXGsK!s(eC-WGwbVlU3G3o^VRXU9SK parties in Bangkok, Pattaya and the island of Phuket.

Thailand hopes to host more LGBT weddings and honeymoons, accordi#WtDlldBwMhDGx&y96-3uZEMtO$#31EZ)SwlN8W3S7r9P48p_Nng to TTG Asia.

"We are going deeper and becoming more intensive in what we do to welcome the community,” Chattan reportedly sy071+1tbU(4P8m$tT$fZLPI5&X1F_2pT!Me3A9l3S4+UnU!P!0aid.

Chattan also said Taiwan, which famously legalized same-sex marriOv=gi%bJ7n*HYCL5G6kwbLIe%GwEg6JLSD5JbuVQaU*roMoDIkage earlier this year, was also a key market.

Same-sex unions in Thailand

Thailand’s new government is going ahead with ap_%X*VSc#&^&weStcS(jtRHWX3YF+P!$C77Q(a!acdX7teoyKs controversial civil partnerships bill.

The bill, first proposed by the ruling military junta in December last year, would make Thailand t+8wfyN!dgBKzw7PReF7=ecPmm70)p*(l!W&4uou#EKzjt-K!e%he second country in Asia, and the first country in Southeast Asia, to recognize same-sex unions.

But, the LGBTI rights groups have spoken out against@k+aIg9D6jKcP0NxrRGAxYWRjCXnCDi87w_q7IIv_-7CRi35hP the bill since its first inception.

They say the bill offers limiI&yZF$$twJ=^ERDrkGMfK61g8L5eKumE0jT)@Zq#uLLQxqgG$%ted rights to the LGBTI community and enshrines inequality.

According to Voice fo America, Thailand’s Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin said at a f=db&BtViERP-2Rvn=p8()2y3kbb(FjoC%)Ss2weC3bW+JQfRH%orum 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 pass[email protected])vdd_te&VhhkTxicTTv4uCrEzN%KS#mveAdXBwo#ing the Life Partnership Bill following public consultations.

VOA reports a YouGov survey of 1,000 people in. Thailand published in February found strong support for same-sex civil unioE0YNcwytSNboL!CsUwUb3AdmSH=OTN1Io-7#OWzpms2&HQ!Ob7ns in Thailand. 

It found 63% of those quizzed were in favor of the bill, while only 11% were ag_CU4sH4MAc#wGKiYb*!99azEqhSFWd(up%gpw&#uX8c)GlASI6ainst.

But, the LGBTI community and rights activists haH+ZpdK7wnwN4AwM8UN*3IYC%X(YH3w7^Iwci#l^q-5+Xv+!wbSve largely rejected the bill.

Thailand’s first transgender member of parliament slammed the country’s civil union bill after she was elected earlier this yea5AR1H+*k)pGq&iZXvNv*mSPVGe2FnP8#g=Qh#1&=W+MYOjGxLkr.

Tanwarin Sukkhapisit sai)%uDhe6DIvEI6)U7Ax)[email protected]=+$c%qT4d the bill "misses the target”.

((Cover Photo: A sam8!wz+a5dMvODH#_#tDD=2gTF8xbSJas!DU2L32G0!hlV_#_s)Ye-sex wedding in Thailand / YouTube))

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