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Court Strikes Down Anti-Gay Rule

in THAILAND, 10/08/2011

The Chiang Mai Administrative Court yesterday ruled that it was unlawful for the Nakhon Chiang Mai Municipality to ban gay people and transvestites from appearing on the 2010 Loy Krathong Festival’s floats, based upon new standards earlier enacted to assist Chiang Mai in becoming a model city without discrimination or unlawful issuance of regulations.

The court read the verdict at 9.30am in response to the lawsuit filed against the Chiang Mai Mayor.

The plaintiff, Natee Teerarotchanapong, secretary of the Chiang Mai Araya Group, claimed  the regulation – stating that presenters on competing Loy Krathong floats must be ladies or gentlemen or the floats would not be included in the competition – in effect barred gay people and transvestites from participating and violated the constitution.

The court ruled that the criteria, especially regarding the parade participants’ sexual orientations, was unlawful. It was also noted that the regulation, which was limited to the particular parade contest, ended on November 22, 2010, before the court ruling, so there was no need for the court to prohibit the rule banning gays from floats.

Natee said those affected by social discrimination – not only those with gender diversity – had rights and could seek justice. He added that the court’s ruling was a positive sign and urged state offices to cease all forms of discrimination.

Natee, a self proclaimed gay rights activist, was instrumental in appealing to the Chiangmai provincial governor for a ban on the Chiangmai Gay Pride Parade, and also attempted to stop a gay bar from opening in the city. When the appeal to have the parade legally halted failed, it went ahead but was forceably stopped by a gang of thugs.

 

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