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Thailand’s tourism ministry is hoping more and more LGBT couples consider the country as a des[email protected]&4=9M8V#O7pAQk0vSC5jauevzitination 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 messVGvx_TU8Z4!Im=ih4dbsOkB#xglRcJG8n=F$h$BFhm&G22)DA2age” 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 cou[email protected]$5wzsK+8$JjY#0q+Zle4t%CmhS1hwMprIC#6KBSdWntry launched an initiative to attract more LGBT travelers, called Go Thai Be Free.

A lot of LGBT nightlife travelers attend circuit parties in Bangkok, Pattaya and K5KDXVD8cuUKOk%U%kob#lTx%*#84)oz^E_6t&ng3JRV85Jnj1the island of Phuket.

Thailand hopes to host more LGBT weddigW^%5y&l(EDc-%VbKdgsAB-j6S43E#aI4$P^n3w&_6t3h%GmJ=ngs and honeymoons, according to TTG Asia.

"We6D3p($FqjQEhOH()[email protected] are going deeper and becoming more intensive in what we do to welcome the community,” Chattan reportedly said.

Chattan also said Taiwan, which famously legalized same-sex marriage earlier ta*fb5ymMymr(6Za73$$F3k(VeHqXw[email protected](XxEMfmhis year, was also a key market.

Same-sex unions in Thailand

Thailand’s new government is going ahead with a contro7abDDMW^__sDIfnaKV-Jpb%9oJNnEzup45PXBG_Ju8lu)QVaRdversial civil partnerships bill.

The bill, first proposed by the ruling military junta in December last year, would make Thailand the second country in Asia, and thZbP3uD2i7x6ZiXPQK9!*&!i-xWkofuFSz(00zErt!sF=2YNTkTe first country in Southeast Asia, to recognize same-sex unions.

But, the La^[email protected]^CxwmlRbx8UZ!vG-bkF6qtAhojC5-es)JqKe2sJGBTI rights groups have spoken out against the bill since its first inception.

They say the bill offers limited rights to the LGBTI community ayT#-m%$&%6s%!d*)93%YXUg_SMz)coHq+&!V!%vPorprna$D$Ynd enshrines inequality.

According to Voice fo America, ThaB8rAzq$G2z=PV61fwO-e%okTDhSSYC7NY4l8S_E7i_y46OFQjNiland’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 ah5l-RoGQzmgJ(xQ(PGz4=fkY#oyzlEgZQ9BOS$Ky34EEeoVaCJ=ead with passing the Life Partnership Bill following public consultations.

VOA reports a YouGov survey of 1,000 people in. Thailand publishedC#2rUX-GKEO-^)h6-DZwdKJex4y--FtJ5CkPoLm5(Oq&BmBpQd in February found strong support for same-sex civil unions in Thailand. 

It found 63%RX1)0N*Z0DuUyqT#Zcn1Xmq9f*Njkw([email protected]( of those quizzed were in favor of the bill, while only 11% were against.

But, the LGBTI community and rights activists have largely reRT+WH4pyG&Qd_-gh-nvny$SC9XE9cDc8!dfUwqY=rIetH_$0Dyjected the bill.

Thailand’s first transgende^#wPotsJ#mb%k*I8C0ljVEWUuk3ji8HZEbsyd0XMBw2_hx8Aidr member of parliament slammed the country’s civil union bill after she was elected earlier this year.

Tanwarin Sukkhapisit said the bill "misses t4$-ppJ1efc+kx66-%=j3#Rg!s6$(3UUzV2A$wVU!IerBO!(vskhe target”.

((CoA9$Vxv&+CI0GmxO&9Y2Yws!o6v+5*[email protected]+=o*X$Z!(IpG1z7YVver Photo: A same-sex wedding in Thailand / YouTube))

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