A law allowing same-sex couples to formally register as life partners should be drafted by September, Rights and Liberties Protection Department chief Pitikarn Sitthidech said on Saturday.
It would then be submitted to Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Minister ACM Prajin Juntong, who would decide whether it should go to the Cabinet, she said.
Pitikarn said the sub-panel drafting the legislation that’s been hailed by some as a progressive step towards the legalisation of gay marriage would meet on July 25 to review its 63 articles.
Panel members were likely to make adjustments, she said, some based on the experiences of other countries that have adopted similar legislation, such as Mexico, South Africa, Canada, Australia and Britain.
The bill would be forwarded to the Rights Department’s law development committee for further tweaking in September, and then to Prajin, Pitikarn said.
She pointed out that the process in some countries had taken up to 10 years, but Prajin wanted to fast-track Thailand’s version because of the many LGBT (lesbian, gay, transgendered and bisexual) citizens who deserve the same rights as everyone else.
Pitikarn said Prajin had insisted that the authors of the legislation understand the situation in society well and the sensitivities involved.
He wanted guidelines set out to support the status of same-sex life partners registered in other countries who were now living in Thailand to ensure they enjoyed the rights to which they were entitled.
Prajin wanted it made clear which agency would handle registrations once the law comes into effect.
And he expects the law to lay the foundation for the legalisation of gay marriage.
“Since the ministry began moving forward on this law, we have received good feedback from the LGBT community and a 60,000-name petition expressing support for the action, as well as much useful information,” Pitikarn said.
“I believe many more people are passively supporting this law – the many who haven’t yet expressed their LGBT status.”