The Cabinet has approved the fundamental principles of the draft law amending the Civil and Commercial Code (Version ..) B.E. …. (Equal Marriage), as proposed by the Ministry of Justice. This proposed amendment aims to expand the legal recognition of marriage to include couples of any gender, allowing any two individuals to engage in engagement or marriage.
The key revisions involve changing terms such as “male,” “female,” “husband,” “wife,” and “husband and wife” to “person,” “betrothed,” “betrothed party,” and “spouse,” respectively. This modification ensures a more inclusive and gender-neutral language throughout the law, aligning with the principle that any two individuals, regardless of their gender, can engage in engagement or marriage.
Furthermore, the amendment introduces provisions to grant same-sex couples rights and responsibilities equivalent to heterosexual couples in terms of family duties and status. However, it maintains the fundamental principles of the Civil and Commercial Code while adding clauses related to compensation and divorce cases involving same-sex couples.
Notably, in the case of a woman’s death or the termination of marriage through other means, she may remarry a man only after a waiting period of at least 310 days has passed since the end of the previous marriage. Similar provisions apply to cases of marriage between a man and a woman, ensuring legal and social considerations.
Importantly, the proposed amendment does not impact certain core principles, such as the ability of both parties to adopt children together, inherit from each other, and manage joint assets. It also emphasizes that in some cases, consent from the other spouse is necessary for certain legal actions.
In the context of other legal implications, this amendment may require adjustments in laws related to benefits and welfare provided by the state, such as cases involving the payment of retirement benefits to civil servants. The current law specifies payments to “husband or wife,” and these terms will need updating to reflect the expanded definition of spouses.
The Ministry of Justice has undertaken extensive public consultation, and the results, along with an analysis of potential impacts, have been made available to the public through the law.go.th website. This transparent approach aims to keep the public informed about the legislative process and its consequences.
In summary, the proposed amendment to the Civil and Commercial Code is a significant step toward recognizing and promoting equal rights for all individuals, regardless of their gender, in the context of engagement and marriage. The changes introduced in the draft law seek to ensure that same-sex couples enjoy the same legal rights, duties, and family status as heterosexual couples, while still adhering to the fundamental principles of the Civil and Commercial Code.
Key Points – Civil and Commercial Code Amendment Proposal
Present Law: Civil and Commercial Code (Current Version) Proposed Draft: Draft Version presented by the Ministry of Justice in this proposal.
1. Compensation for Breach of Engagement Contract Involving Third Party Relations
✓ Current Law (Section 1445): Allows either party, male or female, to claim compensation from a person who has engaged in a relationship with their betrothed knowingly or should have known about the engagement.
✓ Proposed Draft: Specifies that one party may claim compensation from a person who has engaged in a relationship with their betrothed or has acted to fulfill the desires of either party, with knowledge or should have known about the engagement.
2. Minimum Age Requirement for Marriage Registration
✓ Current Law (Section 1448): Marriage is permissible when both the man and woman are 17 years old, but the court may permit marriage earlier in certain circumstances.
✓ Proposed Draft: Marriage is permissible when both parties are 17 years old, with the court having the discretion to permit earlier marriages in suitable cases.
3. Conditions for Remarriage
✓ Current Law (Section 1453): A woman whose husband has died or whose marriage has ended for other reasons may remarry after at least 310 days have passed unless certain conditions are met.
✓ Proposed Draft: Specifies conditions allowing a woman to remarry, including childbirth within the waiting period, remarrying the same spouse, presenting medical certification of non-pregnancy by a qualified medical practitioner, or obtaining a court order.
4. Dissolution of Marriage (In Cases Where No Divorce Request is Made)
✓ Current Law (Section 1504): If the court does not order the dissolution of marriage, and both parties are 17 years old or when a woman is pregnant before turning 17, the marriage is considered complete from the time of marriage.
✓ Proposed Draft: If the court does not order the dissolution of marriage and both parties are 17 years old, or in the case of marriage between a man and a woman, when a woman is pregnant before turning 17, the marriage is considered complete from the time of marriage.
5. Conditions for Termination of Marriage
✓ Current Law (Section 1510): The right to request the termination of marriage is suspended when both parties reach the age of 20 or when the woman is pregnant.
✓ Proposed Draft: The right to request the termination of marriage is suspended when both parties reach the age of 20 or, in the case of marriage between a man and a woman, when the woman is pregnant.
These key points represent the proposed amendments to the Civil and Commercial Code, aiming to modernize and address contemporary legal considerations.