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Thailand’s tourism ministry is hoping more and more LGBT couples consider the countrTDL-v^[email protected]%8FfC+I$&p7wSUy2bVQP)kxrDlY+y 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 wou(QnV%[email protected](0KNx^[email protected]!%cKpNjI%Vld 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 year the country launched an initiative to attract more LGBT traveleFfkL3H$WR*Rim1fx8xVsihn7L!3xtst2lSZ3VZt_3F^SnkGuOhrs, called Go Thai Be Free.

A lot of LGBT nightlife travelers attend circuit parti[email protected][email protected]#o6fXI(h((*d*YYBpxVC6IQvCes in Bangkok, Pattaya and the island of Phuket.

Thailand hopes to host more LGBT weddings and honeymoono!ENa*CunnMdLJ1GWEGVifsJ4w_eEmnS)U7Yf+oR=Zaf)QnxYjs, according to TTG Asia.

"We are going deeper and becoming more intensive in wh2wno#n!$z7KmeOfCX7qRk%$Pcgn_*[email protected]at we do to welcome the community,” Chattan reportedly said.

Chattan also said Taiwan, which famously legalized same-sex marriage earlier this year, V52m^4ZIWH([email protected]([email protected][email protected]&6AZ65e3dNS_was also a key market.

Same-sex unions in Thailand

Tha[email protected]+m&9&NrCyzmdK-#^zPiJ6Q&s0x6L+JrB0Y-fyUi^_iland’s new government is going ahead with a controversial 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 the firICJO1$Pm^1zaS%ovybIdf82c2^pQujWOCyaCdIYuzm36h*h&=Ast country in Southeast Asia, to recognize same-sex unions.

But, the LGBTI rights gr(1LHVaB=9MV-PKc)tS!dMoSo5YJ!A+6jWbE4)vReivM8Xm_Hudoups have spoken out against the bill since its first inception.

They say the bill offers limited rights to the LGBTI community and enshrines inequality-6F%qH--S6pJoVVU3XRcMmkMSbXfi6Zr+f%s0*c7%[email protected]$.

According to Voice fo America, Thailand’s Justice Minister Somsak ThepsuteXA&q5p2WRNw5$_3D*H&$=98GagE=JF1&5L-tHSNi(HO#vK+06in 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 pre[email protected]$_8_B)Px+LV+Gl5([email protected]&rx0JU-6COPi9tODss ahead with passing 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 unions in Thail[email protected]_^)5U([email protected]*fQX5P2w1x4Zta5FUSX9+((and. 

It found 63% VW-dV=G4td7!j3S5k&V_TMoms8*LZN0-LsX^Y29gXIE=jmVc)cof those quizzed were in favor of the bill, while only 11% were against.

BupzXaa=iyD(d-HpuuPPC*KoN)o^az8dFgu4I$u-g!uRoWA*yU+xt, the LGBTI community and rights activists have largely rejected the bill.

ThailandM2OWCnTWVF)Fk_n2MJ0Hh#zlb(DZK6k2QT5izPU9dnYtv1^exa’s first transgender member of parliament slammed the country’s civil union bill after she was elected earlier this year.

Tanwarin Sukkhapisit said the bill "misYY9Fi-gHjmJ=CE2EbjttBj%91zoAf*GABnrmgxmmN1rWWr=T0Wses the target”.

((Cover Photo: A same-sex weddinCKEfk2^QQ5T7sIYPAF-LgSg7H9&4UjA55oy1mJ^+*+Sz9KQFM4g in Thailand / YouTube))

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