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A fire broke out yesterday in Bangkok’s gay district on the same day that the cabinet submitted a civil union bill that would afford some legal protections to same-sex couples. All of this occurred just days after one of the biggest pride marches in Bangkok’s recent history.
It’s been an eventful week for Bangkok’s LGBTQ community and it promises to get only more hectic in the coming days and weeks as parliament debates the merits of the civil union bill.
Yet, as critics rightly point out, the civil union bill goes nowhere close to legalizing same-sex marriage and doesn’t do much to offer legal, health, and inheritence protections for gay unions.
It is just more window dressing to hide the hypocrisy of the conservative men (and women) running this country.
Remember why the bill was taken out of parliament in the first place.
The conservatives were happy to listen to the religious objections of a few even if it meant that the rights of many LGBTQ couples were denied.
Now, this half-baked bill is the cabinet’s attempt to placate the growing chorus of allies and activists who rightly point out the exploitative way the government has approached the gay community since it assumed power in 2014.
This government, especially the economic and tourism ministries, are only too happy to promote Thailand as an accepting place that welcomes gay travelers to its shores.
Thailand, they said, has a long history of orientation acceptance and gay couples should come and partake in all the beauty and fun the country has to offer.
In fact, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Ministry of Tourism have a “gay budget” that is used to woo LGBTQ travelers.
Yet when it is time to put their money where their mouth is, they have fallen short for the last eight years.
In summary, the government is happy to take money from the gay community but when it comes time to support, lift up, and recognize the basic human rights of their fellow Thais – they have acted cowardly and in bad faith. Shame on them.