Newspaper section: News
Writer: Paritta Wangkiat, Reporter
A group supporting same-sex marriage is drafting its own version of the civil partnership bill to guarantee same-sex couples equal marriage rights.
Panlawee Jongtangsatjatha, right, and Rungtiwa Tangkanopas, wearing a wedding gown, apply for a marriage certificate at Bang Rak district yesterday to mark Valentine’s Day and promote same-sex marriage. District officials said they could not register the marriage because the law does not permit them to do so. PAWAT LAOPAISARNTAKSIN
The Sexual Diversity Network (SDN) announced the move yesterday, saying it was not confident the House-sponsored version now before public hearings would get cabinet approval.
A House committee chaired by Pol Gen Viroon Phuensaen, a Pheu Thai party-list MP, started working on the bill a year ago after receiving a complaint from a gay male couple who were denied a marriage certificate.
The first hearing on the bill was held last week while a second hearing will be held in Chiang Mai today, followed by two more sessions in Khon Kaen and Songkhla.
Opinions from the public will be gathered and the bill amended before it is proposed to the cabinet for further consideration.
Jetsada Taesombat, a coordinator of the Thai Transgender Alliance and an SDN member, said the House bill enjoyed solid support among gays, lesbians and the general public.
However, she said, the SDN had to prepare a civil society version of the bill in case the House bill is rejected by the cabinet.
A so-called civil society bill would need the backing of at least 10,000 eligible voters to be introduced to the House.
Jetsada said the SDN had worked with academics familiar with same-sex marriage laws in effect overseas to make the bill as complete as possible.
Danai Linjongrut, director of the Rainbow Sky Association, a NGO working on gender rights, HIV/Aids and sexual education, said SDN members had lobbied politicians to support the bill.
They had also met Bangkok governor candidates and members of the main parties during the campaign.
"They all promise to support same-sex marriage rights.
"We would ask them to keep their promise after they win the election," he said.
The SDN yesterday took a lesbian couple, Rungtiwa Tangkanopas and Panlawee Jongtangsatjatham, to apply for a marriage certificate at Bang Rak district.
The couple wanted to register their marriage on Valentine's Day yesterday.
However, their request for a marriage certificate was denied because the law doesn't permit it. We understand officials here have no power to give us a marriage certificate," Ms Rungtiwa said.