Thailand's Cabinet has approved two draft bills that would give same-sex unions legal status similar to that of heterosexual marriages.
The draft Civil Partnership Act and amendments of the Civil and Commercial Code will be sent to Parliament soon for approval, deputy government spokeswoman Ratchada Thanadirek said after Wednesday's Cabinet meeting.
The Civil Partnership Act would allow couples who were born with the same sex to register their partnership if they are both at least 17 years old and at least one is a Thai citizen. Although their union is not defined as a marriage, it grants many legal rights that are the same as those held by married heterosexual couples in matters such as adoption of stepchildren and inheritance. However, partners would not be entitled to all the same financial benefits from the state.
Such unions could be ended by death, voluntary separation or court order.
The Civil and Commercial Code amendments specify further regulations for civil unions, such as barring involvement in more then one partnership at a time and declaring that the right to alimony for a partner in a disbanded union is lost when they form a new one.
Kittinun Daramadhaj, president of Rainbow Sky of Thailand, who helped write the bill, said the draft approved Wednesday was an improvement on earlier versions, but that some members of the LGBTQ community believe it does not go far enough to ensure equal rights.