Fragile Heterosexuality of Thailand Constitutional Court
ASEAN SOGIE Caucus Statement on Thailand Constitutional Court Decision on Equal Marriage Petition
Thailand Constituional Court Verdict on the petition of equal marriage for all, filed by 2 queer Thai citizens and garnering more than 274,000 signatories, was met with anger and frustration from LGBTQIA human rights defenders, feminists, and pro-democracy activists. Moreover, this decision came out after Thailand’s Constitutional Court ruled that Section 1448 of the Civil and Commercial Code, which defined marriages as only between men and women, is constitutional.
Quoting the verdict: “Implication of equality between men and women is not to prescribe a law designating that men shall be women or women shall be men, because sex is divided by nature (an act of God). Sex at birth cannot be chosen. … What would occur would impose burden on the State and cause the rights of straight husband and wife who are the majority to be reviewed, resulting in the delay, obstacle, and unfairness. Moreover, if sex is not specified for marriage, people who are not people with gender diversity (LGBTQI) may apply for marriage registration to benefit from welfare of the State or tax deduction. This may affect the security of the State or public order or good morals of the people.” The decision showcases how fragile heterosexuality is and its place within Thailand’s sexist, heteronormative, gender-binary patriarchal, monarchical, and undemocratic system. The inferiority of the system where cis-heterosexuality and sexism ruled out.
The Constitutional Court stated that marriage as “the purpose of natural reproduction to pass the race of nature between male and female, passing the property and creating a bond between father, mother, uncle, aunt, grandparents.” Meanwhile, marriage between the gender diverse may not be able to pass such a delicate bond.”
The verdict has injured the human dignity, rights, liberties, and equality of persons who are not protected under the Constitution to be equal before the law. They are discriminated and treated unfairly based on the ground of differences in sex due to the rules under the Civil and Commercial Code section 1448, the Family Registration Act B.E. 2478, and the Ministerial Notification prescribed under the Family Registration Act B.E. 2478 clause 3. This denies their opportunity to be granted marriage registration, which is a basic right all Thai people deserve, as same as other spouses who are females and males by birth.
According to an anonymous thai queer non-binary activist said to ASEAN SOGIE Caucus “The verdict is so traumatizing and dehumanizing us, LGBTQIN+, as if we are animals. The verdict has exposed Thailand’s ugly truth. This nation just exploits us, local queer communities, for its pink washing tourism marketing to attract privileged queers from the global north to spend money in Thailand. Meanwhile, Thailand ignores our basic rights as human beings in this nation”.
As the Thai government has advertised the country as LGBTQ paradise in Asia, the Thai Constitutional Court has proven that this is only a rainbow washing agenda. We call on all queers and allies from the region to globally to condemn Thai government in this regards and support the Thai grassroot queer movement for democracy, for equal marriage and for abolishing Lèse-majesté law.