Thailand could become the first country in Asia with civil unions by the end of the year

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Participants at the 2006 Bangkok Pride parade Wikipedia

Thailand could become the first country in Asia to recognize same-sex partnerships.

A new bill called the Civil Partnership Act has been announced, and it could make civil unions for same-sex couples a reality by the end of this year.

Thailand currently only recognizes heterosexual marriages, but the Civil Partnership Act would open up many rights to same-sex couples.

The bill, though, is expected to be limited: it would still ban same-sex couples from adopting children.

“This would be a major step forward, but our true goal is to win the same rights as those enjoyed by heterosexual couples,” said Danai Linjongrut, executive director of the Rainbow Sky Association of Thailand, an LGBTQ organization.

Related: Draft of new Thailand constitution offers protections for gay, transgender people

Last year, Taiwan’s Constitutional Court ruled that the country’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples violated the constitution’s guarantees for human dignity and equality. The ruling gave the government two years to amend current legislation to recognize marriage equality.

The two year period ends in May, 2019. If the Taiwanese government doesn’t pass a law by then, same-sex couples will get their marriages recognized by submitting a written document.

So if Thailand passes the Civil Partnership Act by the end of this year, it could very well be the first country in Asia to recognize same-sex partnerships.

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