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Your guide to the Supreme Court oral arguments on same-sex marriage

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Your guide to the Supreme Court oral arguments on same-sex marriage

MANILA, Philippines – In May 2015, only two months after he passed the Philippine Bar, Jesus Falcis III  filed a petition seeking to legalize same-sex marriage in this predominantly Catholic country.

The petition was the first of its kind.

Marriage equality is typically fought in Congress, and for years, the Philippine Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) movement has lobbied for the enactment of an anti-discrimination law and not a law on same-sex marriage.

The strategy was apparently to wage one battle at a time. Once the proposed anti-discrimination law is passed, then same-sex marriage would follow.

Yet, here we are now.

In a historic first, the Supreme Court will tackle same-sex marriage in oral arguments on Tuesday, June 19, because one young, gutsy, gay lawyer thought this was a battle better fought in the Court, not in Congress.

“Mauuna pa tayo sa mga ibang issues sa Pilipinas, at mauuna pa tayo sa ibang bansa sa Asian region na medyo conservative  (We will be ahead of other issues in the Philippines, and we will be ahead of other countries in the Asian region that are conservative),” Falcis said, referring to the oral arguments.

However, “it is not that soon,” the lawyer said. It took the Supreme Court 3 years to schedule his petition for oral arguments. (READ:  SC applicants agree with U.S ruling favoring baker in gay wedding cake case )

It has certainly been a long time coming for petitioner-intervenor Ceejay Agbayani, pastor of an LGBT Christian Church, who has been marrying same-sex couples for years, though their marriages are not recognized by the State.

Agbayani is “married” to partner of 12 years Marlon Felipe. The pastor is 44 years old.

“Nanghihina na ako, akala ko hindi ko maaabot ang araw na ito  (I’m getting weak, I thought that I wouldn’t live long enough to see this day),” Agbayani said.

He and Felipe intervened in the Falcis petition to boost its legal standing. The couple’s application for a marriage license was denied, making personalities with an actual stake in the case.

Agbayani said he sought out Falcis when he heard in 2015 that the young lawyer had filed a petition.

“Sabi ko, thank Jesus! I love Jesus, both Jesus the attorney and the historical Jesus. Finally, this guy, whom I’ve never met, meron din siyang pagnanasa for marriage equality, eh ang kulang lang namin, actually, attorney. Noon pa man gusto na naming magKorte Supreme pero wala kaming attorney,” Agbayani said.

(I said, thank you Jesus! I love Jesus, both Jesus the attorney and the historical Jesus. Finally, this guy, whom I’ve never met, he also wants marriage equality. The only thing we lacked then was a lawyer. We have always wanted to go to the Supreme Court, but we didn’t have a lawyer.) 

At 31, Falcis is one of the youngest lawyers to ever face oral arguments before the Supreme Court. He will have his most-awaited day in Court on June 19. The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) will represent the State.

Here is your guide to the oral arguments:

These are the provisions of the Family Code in question:

Article 1: Marriage is a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life. It is the foundation of the family and an inviolable social institution whose nature, consequences, and incidents are governed by law and not subject to stipulation, except that marriage settlements may fix the property relations during the marriage within the limits provided by this Code.

Article 2: No marriage shall be valid, unless these essential requisites are present:  (1) Legal capacity of the contracting parties who must be a male and a female  

These are the provisions in the Constitution that the petition alleges to have been violated by the aforementioned:

Section 1, Article III:  No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.

  Section 3(1), Article XV: The State shall defend the right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions and the demands of responsible parenthood

1. Should the petition be subject to the Court’s power of judicial review?

Petition: Yes, because “Articles 1 and 2 of the Family Code trigger a strict judicial scrutiny because it violates the fundamental rights to decisional and marital privacy and because it created a suspect classification.”

A suspect classification happens when a class of individuals is discriminated against. In legal principles, suspect classification should be subject to strict Court scrutiny.

State: No, because “the legal definition of marriage between a man and a woman is a policy issue within the authority of Congress, not the Courts, to decide.”

The OSG also added that the petition was defective because it did not implead  Congress, the body that makes laws, and the body that passed the assailed Family Code.

2. What do the laws say?

Petition: The passing of the Family Code provisions limiting marriage to a man and a woman only constitute grave abuse of discretion because the Constitution did not define marriage as solely between a man and a woman. (The Family Code was signed into law on July 6, 1987, or 6 months after the Constitution was ratified in February that year.)

Similarly, the marriage provisions in the 1949 Civil Code did not limit marriages to a man and a woman only.

Here is the pertinent Civil Code provision:

Article 54. Any male of the age of sixteen years or upwards, and any female of the age of fourteen years or upwards, not under any of the impediments mentioned in Articles 80 to 84, may contract marriage.  

State: “The Civil Code only allows heterosexual marriage.”

The OSG said that the use of the word “and” in Article 54 – any male aged 16 years or upwards AND any female of the age 14 years or upward – means marriage was limited to a male and female, not male or female.

The OSG added that Title V and VI of the Civil Code mentions a “husband and wife” which further bolsters the claim that the Civil Code “only sanctions heterosexual marriage.”

3. Did Philippine laws intend marriage for procreation?

Petition: No. Articles 2 and 3 of the Family Code “do not require married individuals to procreate or have the ability to procreate.”

Article 45(5) of the Family Code lists as a ground for annulment if either party “is incapable of consummating the marriage with the other, and such incapacity continues and appears to be incurable.” The petition said this is impotency.

“Homosexuals ordinarily are not impotent…because they are ordinarily not sterile,” the petition said, meaning homosexuals have the capacity to consummate the marriage.

On the issue of whether they can procreate, the petition said they are not prohibited by Philippine laws to adopt children. It cited a Supreme Court ruling that sided with a lesbian mother in a custody battle, saing that “sexual preference or moral laxity alone does not prove parental neglect or incompetence.”

State: Yes. “This state and societal interest to encourage procreation in a stable environment of a traditional family had been the reason for limiting marriage between a man and a woman, and in effect, creating a classification between couples that may avail of the special contract of marriage, and those that cannot.”

The OSG also cites Articles 46 and 55 of the Family Code, which count homosexuality as legal grounds for annulment.

Article 46(4): Any of the following circumstances shall constitute fraud referred to in Number 3 of the preceding Article: Concealment of drug addiction, habitual alcoholism or homosexuality or lesbianism existing at the time of the marriage.

Article 55(6): A petition for legal separation may be filed on any of the following grounds: Lesbianism or homosexuality of the respondent

For the petitioner, if Articles 2 and 3 should be declared unconstitutional, then Articles 46 and 55 shall also be declared unconstitutional.

The OSG disagreed, saying that the provisions gave importance to conjugal intimacy which is “after all, the means for procreation of children and establishing a family.”

It cited an SC ruling which voided a marriage based on the wife’s complaint that the husband was not having sex with her.

The ruling said: “To procreate children based on the universal principle that procreation of children through sexual cooperation is the basic end of marriage. Constant non- fulfillment of this obligation will finally destroy the integrity or wholeness of the marriage.”

4. Does limiting marriage to men and women only violate the equal protection clause?

Petition: Yes, because the classification does not rest on substantial distinction.

To explain, equal protection clause will not apply if these 4 conditions are satisfied:

  • It must rest on substantial distinctions
  • It must be germane to the purposes of law
  • It must not be limited to existing conditions only
  • It must apply equally to all members of the same class

There is substantial distinction if it can be justified why a certain class is treated differently. The petition said there is no substantial distinction between same sex couples and opposite sex couples.

If it’s their inability to procreate, the petition asks: Why are old heterosexual couples who are sterile and cannot procreate allowed to marry?

State: No, equal protection clause will not apply because the second condition was met, which is that it is germane or relevant to the purposes of the law.

The OSG goes back to the issue of procreation, and argued that procreation was among the main purposes of limiting marriage between a man and a woman only.

“While societal views of marriage as well as methods for procreation may be arguably changing since then, the laws that these norms initiated are slow to follow suit. The remedy for this perceived lethargy, however, lies with Congress, and not with the judiciary,” the OSG said.

5. Does limiting marriage to men and women only violate Section 3(1), Article XV of the Constitution?

Petition: Section 3(1), Article XV says the State shall defend the right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions and the demands of responsible parenthood.

The petition argues that like Agbayani, individuals belonging to religious denominations believe in same-sex marriage. Therefore, their right to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions is violated.

State: Petitioners cannot invoke Section 3(1), Article XV because it is not a self-executory right.  

A self-executory right is one which does not need an enabling law to enforce. In general principles, a person cannot invoke a law that is a non-self executory right to void another law which may be inconsistent with it.

The OSG cited a past SC ruling which says Section 3(1), Article XV are non-self executory and are “mere statements and principles and policies.”

The OSG also said that according to the deliberations of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, Section 3(1), Article XV was meant to direct Congress to enact laws that will “further its policy for the Filipino family, while prohibiting it from interfering with the number of children that couples may beget.”

“It does not provide for a self-executory right that may be made the legal basis of petitioners’ alleged inequality,” the OSG said.  

The OSG said that allowing same-sex marriage will complicate other gender specific laws in marriages, like how a husband’s decision will prevail in disagrement over a community property, and how a wife is assumed to have better abilities to raise a child of tender age, or the classification of adultery and concubinage.

For the petitioners, marriage equality will be worth all the trouble. “I am a Filipino, give us this right, we are not different, we are part of this country too,” Agbayani said.

Oral arguments will start 2 pm on Tuesday, June 19. – Rappler.com  

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Conventus Law

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Same-Sex Marriage And Its Legal Hindrance In The Philippines.

June 26, 2017 by Conventus Law

26 June, 2017

Leading lawyer, judge, and writer Justice Robert A. Jackson once said: “[f]reedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order.”

Touching the very heart of the existing order is the issue on same-sex marriage or — more accurately — unions. US-based Pew Research Center noted that the number of governments which consider granting legal recognition to same-sex marriage are growing. Around two dozen countries, mostly in Europe and the Americas, already allow same-sex marriage. However, as of date, a marriage or union between two Filipino citizens of the same sex is not legally recognized in the Philippines.

The issue once again found its way to national relevance after President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement. Reversing his 2016 campaign promise to support legislation allowing same-sex marriage, President Duterte said that while he has no issue with anyone’s sexuality, he believes that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. He anchors this statement on Philippine laws, particularly Executive Order No. 209, otherwise known as “The Family Code of the Philippines,” which governs the law on marriage.

While President Duterte’s change of stance was widely criticized by rights groups, it was welcomed by the Roman Catholic Church, from which staunch opposition against same-sex marriage largely comes. Philippines is known as Asia’s bastion of Roman Catholicism and this heavily explains the church’s political influence over more than 80% of the population who are its members.

The Family Code defines marriage as “a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman.” It further provides as one of the essential requisites that the contracting parties “must be a male and a female.” It thus clearly prohibits same-sex couples from entering into a contract of marriage. The same law mentions homosexuality and lesbianism, but only as grounds to annul a marriage or to allow legal separation.

However, the 1987 Philippine Constitution, the supreme law of the land, neither discriminates nor prohibits same-sex marriage. It provided only for the significance of marriage, such that marriage, “as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State.”

Thus, there is no impediment against legalizing same-sex marriage in the Philippines. However, there needs to be an enabling law redefining, and changing the parties who may contract, marriage.

Bills protecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community, which include the legalization of same-sex civil marriage, are not among those which the House of Representatives prioritizes. As early as 18 years ago, a bill legalizing same-sex marriage was filed by former Representative Etta Rosales, but it never progressed from first reading. The same counterpart measure was sponsored by Senator Risa Hontiveros last year but it only also reached as far as first reading. Numerous anti-discrimination proposals have been served on the table but none of which was a success.

A country report initiated by the United Nations Development Program highlighted the fact that while the Philippines is a signatory to many relevant international covenants promoting human rights, the rights of the LGBT community are not always supported by the state.

It is a fact that same-sex activity is not criminalized in the Philippines and sexual orientation is mentioned in various laws. However, national legislation is bereft of anti-discriminatory laws which allow the LGBT community to fully exercise their fundamental rights to equality and non-discrimination. Though there are victories in the form of ordinances passed by local government units, such as Quezon City, Angeles, Cebu, Bacolod, and Davao, addressing discrimination against the LGBT community, there is not much to revel in terms of the latter’s opportunities to build a family.

Without marriage, same-sex couples suffer from substantially lesser rights compared to heterosexual couples. There are legal issues involving the former’s adoption and custody of children, hospital and prison visitation rights, management and transfer of properties, medical and burial decisions, and entitlement to insurance proceeds. Same-sex couples resort to certain legal, albeit limited, approaches to legitimize their union — adoption, which is allowed if done by a single LGBT person; business partnership, to jointly own properties; and a special power of attorney, to name a few.

In the landmark case of Ang Ladlad LGBT Party v. COMELEC, no less than the highest court of the land recognizes “that practical solutions are preferable to ideological stalemates; accommodation is better than intransigence; reason more worthy than rhetoric. This will allow persons of diverse viewpoints to live together, if not harmoniously, then, at least, civilly.”

Same-sex marriage is an issue that is still heavily debated upon. Grounds raised against it range from moral to legal. However, the legal impediment against same-sex marriage can be cured by legislation. There is no absolute prohibition against legitimizing — at least, civilly — unions between two Filipinos of the same sex. Hence, it is legally feasible for the legislative branch of the government — the Congress and the Senate — to enact a law which legalizes same-sex marriage in the Philippines.

Our freedom to differ and, ultimately, our freedom to choose must not be limited by existing laws, especially when there is nothing that prohibits legislation accommodating legitimate calls for equality, which the Constitution itself enshrines.

essay same sex marriage in the philippines

For further information, please contact:  

Kate Aubrey G. Hojilla, Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz (ACCRALAW)

 [email protected]

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The best argument against same-sex marriage

FILIPINOS, SPORTING #LoveWins hashtags and slapping rainbows onto their Facebook profile pictures, have been swept up in the euphoria over the US Supreme Court decision declaring same-sex marriage a fundamental human right. Law professors are heartened to see Justice Anthony Kennedy’s poetic Obergefell decision shared in social media. However, we must also read the powerful dissents and ask why we might prefer that our unelected justices decide this sensitive issue instead of our elected legislators.

Inquirer 2bu quoted teenagers opining that anyone with the capacity to love deserves to have his/her chosen relationship validated. Obergefell’s logic is equally simple. Forget “substantive due process,” “decisional privacy” and “equal protection.” It takes the simple premise that human liberty necessarily goes beyond physical liberty, and includes an unwritten right to make fundamental life choices. Choosing a life partner is one such fundamental choice and the decision of two people to formalize their relationship must be accorded utmost dignity.

The typical arguments against this simple idea are so intellectually discredited that Obergefell no longer discussed them. (My Philippine Law Journal article “Marriage through another lens,” 81 PHIL. L.J. 789 [2006], tried applying them to bisexual and transgender Filipinos.)

One cannot solely invoke religious doctrine, even if thinly veiled as secular “morality.” Religious groups may confront this issue but not impose their choices on others. Their often vindictive tone contrasts sharply with Kennedy’s, and increasingly alienates millennials who revel in individuality. Those criticized as religious zealots should at least strive to be up-to-date, more sophisticated religious zealots.

The most common argument, procreation, is also the easiest to refute. Philippine Family Code author Judge Alicia Sempio-Diy wrote: “The [Code] Committee believes that marriage … may also be only for companionship, as when parties past the age of procreation still get married.”

Another argument reduces marriage to a series of economic benefits and suggests a “domestic partnership” system to govern same-sex couples’ property and other rights. This parallels having separate schools for white and black children and claiming they are equal because both have schools. It implies that some relationships so lack dignity that they must be called something else.

Protecting the “traditional” definition of marriage is too subjective. Obergefell reminds that traditional definitions evolve and once prohibited interracial and accepted arranged marriages, and “it is unrealistic to conclude that an opposite-sex couple would choose not to marry simply because same-sex couples may do so.”

Recent last-ditch arguments alleged harm to children. No party to Obergefell contested that same-sex couples may build nurturing families after adopting or tapping medical advances to produce babies with related DNA. Prohibiting same-sex marriage harms children by making such families unstable, as only one parent may legally adopt and have rights in relation to a child.

With all these discredited, the Obergefell dissents simply raised that marriage is so central a social institution that it is better redefined by democratic process than unelected judges. Proponents may consider opponents homophobic, bigoted, narrow-minded religious zealots, but none of these disqualifies one from being a citizen. Chief Justice John Roberts argued that proponents should have relied on how popular opinion was rapidly shifting in their favor than ending all debate by court order.

Justice Antonin Scalia decried how the US Constitution was turned into a “fortune cookie” in a “judicial Putsch” that declared a radical unwritten right. Roberts cautioned that the first cases to use similar doctrine upheld slavery and struck down labor regulations in the name of laissez faire economics. Although invoking human rights is not subject to an election, it is wise to consult society in defining these, and Obergefell stressed the lengthy public debates the United States experienced at every level.

One thus asks why an instant judicial solution is more appealing than backing Akbayan Rep. Barry Gutierrez’s proposed same-sex marriage bill. The Philippines has not had serious public debate given how we recently focused on reproductive health, and our high court has not even explicitly recognized “decisional privacy.” Further, the petition to legalize same-sex marriage recently filed at our high court is blatantly deficient.

The petition (like the anti-RH petitions) does not even identify a client. There is no actual Filipino same-sex couple, unlike the real Mr. Obergefell who sought to be named the spouse on his partner’s death certificate after their deathbed wedding. This violates the most basic rule that judicial power may only be used in an “actual case” and the high court should have instantly thrown out the no-case petition (like the anti-RH petitions). The petition also has glaring errors (like the anti-RH petitions). It invoked the Philippine privacy decision Ople vs Torres, which involved information in government databases and has nothing to do with the “decisional privacy” of US same-sex marriage debates. Even liberals should be hard-pressed to support this lest they be intellectually inconsistent and validate the anti-RH petitions’ worst features.

Any citizen lacking the patience to back Gutierrez’s bill has every right to short-circuit democracy by seeking an order from unelected judges. One hopes our high court insists that it be sought properly.

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Same Sex Marriage Debate: Reasons For and Against

Homosexual relationships are increasingly gaining acceptance in other countries, but are still banned in the Philippines. Some explain that the traditional marital set-up defines the fundamental, cross-cultural institution that healthily provides ‘normal parents’ to children.

Same-sex marriage advocates however argue that legalizing same-sex unions would be good not only for gay people, but also for society as a whole, since society fundamentally supports loving relationships regardless of the people’s gender orientations and preferences.

So generally speaking, should same-sex marriage be legalized?

These are some of the reasons used by those who propose the legalization of same sex marriage:

1. Same-sex marriage does not hurt the society or anyone in particular. Denying this form of marriage is a case of minority discrimination.

2. A legalized same sex marriage can be a big help to orphanages. Same sex partners’ inability to procreate would probably bring them to adopting orphans.

3. Today, homosexuality is already an accepted lifestyle. Many productive and highly-respected people in the society (such as leaders, filmmakers, and other artists) belong to the gay community. It’s about time to positively sanction their relationships.

4. Is not love the most important thing that should matter in marriage? Once same-sex marriage is legalized, the political and financial benefits that apply to man-woman marriages will also be enjoyed by genuinely loving gay couples.

Oppositely, those who take the traditional stance offer these reasons against same-sex marriage:

1. Same-sex union may traumatically confuse children especially about gender roles, procreation, and societal expectations. For children’s sake, same-sex marriage must be banned.

2. Though becoming rampant, gay lifestyle is not something to be encouraged as studies show that it leads to a much lower life expectancy, psychological disorders, and other personal and societal problems.

3. Same-sex union and building a family out of it are not biologically natural. Same-sex couples cannot naturally produce children through their union.

4. The proposal will weaken the sanctity, honor, and prestige of marriage as a fundamental institution. Same-sex marriage will destructively weaken many traditional family values that serve as fabrics of a stable society … continue reading

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essay same sex marriage in the philippines

Thailand same-sex marriage bill moves to Senate

By Agence France-Presse Published Apr 02, 2024 11:37 am Updated Apr 02, 2024 11:38 am

The Thai Senate will on Tuesday, April 2 debate a bill to legalize same-sex marriage , as the kingdom moves towards becoming the first Southeast Asian country to recognize marriage equality.

Thailand has long enjoyed an international reputation for tolerance of the LGBTQ community, but activists have struggled for decades against conservative attitudes and values.

The lower house easily passed the law last week and the legislation now moves to the country's unelected Senate, which is stacked with conservative appointees named by the last junta.

The session opened at around 9:30 a.m., footage broadcast on parliament TV showed. Senators will discuss the bill—the third item on Tuesday's schedule—which changes references to "men," "women," "husbands," and "wives" in the marriage law to gender-neutral terms.

A first vote will be held later this morning before the legislation is passed to a committee for further consideration. The Senate cannot reject the proposed changes but can send the bill back to the lower house for further debate for 180 days. 

It will come back for two more Senate votes, with the next probably no earlier than July.

Paulie Nataya Paomephan, who won Miss Trans Thailand in 2023, said until recently she had never dreamed that transgender people would be able to legally marry in Thailand.

"I think it is because politicians have to adapt themselves to the changing world," she told AFP, adding that she and her boyfriend of three years planned to marry if the law passed. 

'Proud of our pride'

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said he was "proud of our pride" after the lower house voted to approve the bill in a 399-10 landslide.

"The passing (of this law) in the parliament today is a proud moment for Thai society who will walk together towards social equality and respect differences," he wrote on social media platform X.

Across Asia, only Taiwan and Nepal recognise same-sex marriage. Last year, India's highest court deferred the decision to parliament, and Hong Kong's top court stopped just short of granting full marriage rights.

LGBTQ activists celebrated last Wednesday's vote as a significant milestone on the road to equality.

Inside parliament, a small burst of cheers and clapping accompanied the final vote, with one representative waving a rainbow flag.

The prime minister has been vocal in his support for the LGBTQ community, making the marriage equality policy a signature issue and telling reporters last year that the change would strengthen family structures.

Opinion polls reported by local media show the law has overwhelming support among Thais.

While Thailand has a reputation for tolerance, much of the Buddhist-majority country remains conservative, and LGBTQ people, while highly visible, still face barriers and discrimination.

Activists have been pushing for same-sex marriage rights for more than a decade, but in a kingdom where politics is regularly upended by coups and mass street protests, their advocacy did not get far.

Activist Ann Waaddao Chumaporn said she knew of dozens of LGBTQ couples ready to tie the knot once the law is passed, which she hoped would happen this year.

"Once the law is enforced, yes of course, it will change Thai society," she told AFP.

"It will inspire other fights for other equalities."  (AFP)

TAGS: lgbtq same-sex marriage SENATE thailand

Thailand set to enshrine marriage rights for people of any gender in first for any South-East Asian nation

A rainbow flag is held up by hundreds of people at a pride street parade

Thailand is on the cusp of becoming the first country in South-East Asia to legalise marriage rights for couples of any gender, after MPs overwhelmingly voted in favour of a marriage equality bill.

Four hundred of the 415 members in attendance in the House of Representatives voted in favour of the bill at its final reading. Ten voted against it, two abstained and three did not vote.

The bill amends the Civil and Commercial Code to change the words "men and women" and "husband and wife" to "individuals" and "marriage partners".

The move would open access to full legal, financial and medical rights for LGBT couples in the country.

The bill will now be sent to the Senate, which rarely rejects any legislation that passes the lower house.

It will then go to the king for royal ascent.

If the bill becomes law, it would make Thailand the first country in South-East Asia to pass such a law and the third in Asia behind Taiwan and Nepal.

Bill 'for everyone in Thailand'

Two women in bridal dresses kiss in front of a poster to support gay marriage

A spokesperson of the governing Pheu Thai party and president of a committee overseeing the marriage equality bill, Danuphorn Punnakanta, said in parliament that the amendment is for "everyone in Thailand" regardless of their gender, and would not deprive heterosexual couples of any rights.

"For this law, we would like to return rights to the (LGBT group). We are not giving them rights. These are the fundamental rights that this group of people ... has lost," he said.

MPs, however, did not approve inclusion of the word "parent" in addition to "father and mother" in the law, which activists said would limit the rights of some LGBT couples to form a family and raise children.

Thailand has a reputation for acceptance and inclusivity but has struggled for decades to pass a marriage equality law.

The new government led by Pheu Thai, which took office last year, has made marriage equality one of its main goals.

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A group of Japanese men and women gather outside a court in Tokyo displaying messages of support for marriage equality.

India's government opposes recognising same-sex marriage as fight goes to country's top court

A bearded man wearing sunglasses holds a rainbow LGBT flag aloft.

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