Thailand has become the first nation in South-East Asia to legalise same-sex marriage, with the country’s Senate approving the landmark bill.

The legislation’s approval was anticipated after it passed the House of Representatives with a near-unanimous vote in March.

Despite Thailand’s vibrant LGBTQ+ scene featuring bustling gay bars and a prominent transgender community, local same-sex couples have been unable to marry until now.


The law will take effect 120 days after its announcement in the Royal Gazette, so the first same-sex weddings could occur later this year.

Couples who have waited years for this moment have celebrated the move as a historic event granting them rights previously reserved only for spouses.

Images of Anticha and Worawan, dressed in floor-length white gowns and accompanied by rainbow flags, went viral when they married at Bangkok’s first Pride Festival two years ago. However, their marriage was not legally recognised.

Now, they will be able to change that, and Anticha Sangchai is ecstatic.

“This will change my life and many Thai people’s lives, especially in the LGBT community,” she said. “It is a historical moment, and I really want to join my community in celebrating this.”

“I want to send a message to the world that Thailand has changed. Although there are still many issues, this is a big step for us.”

Anticha and Worawan met during the COVID-19 pandemic and have built a home together, spending years fighting for legal recognition of their love.

“The hardest part is the government,” Ms Sangchai explained. “It’s not the people, not our family, not society. It’s about the law because the government is quite conservative.”

“We don’t need special laws; we just want the same laws as straight people, as everyone in Thailand. We just want to live together and take care of each other.”

She also pointed out that perceptions of Thailand as a welcoming place for the LGBTQ+ community have long been inaccurate.

“The image of Thailand is very welcoming for LGBT tourists, but the truth is they don’t know about the situation here. I think that will change in the future.”

A 2019 study by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) found that many people in the community still faced discrimination despite a generally accepting culture.

In 2022, LGBT Capital estimated there were 3.7 million LGBTQ+ individuals in Thailand.

For Anticha and Worawan, being able to marry also has practical implications. If they want to have children through IVF, they need a marriage certificate first.

“I am quite concerned about time because we are getting older every day, and the older you get, the more difficult it is to have a healthy pregnancy,” Ms Sangchai said. “So we’ve been really wanting this law to pass as soon as possible.”

As for whether they will have another ceremony, they believe one wedding is enough. “That fulfilled us already, but I want to support other couples to have a moment like us.”

“We will have a very small party for just the family and plan to join friends who also plan to access this law.”