As the debate on same-sex marriage continues in Western nations, including the United States, Thailand could become the first country in Asia to legalize gay marriage. Thailand is known for its liberal acceptance of sexuality, but the draft same-sex marriage law is not without controversy. This is a traditional Thai wedding, except there is no groom. There are two brides. This ceremony is only symbolic because Thailand, like all of Asia, does not recognize same sex marriage. But a draft law later this year could change that and make Thailand the first Asian nation to legalize gay marriage. Nonetheless, Arisa Thanommek and her partner Pacharee Hungsabut say they were not interested in waiting. "We…we [will] not wait. Because we [are] ready. Our family is ready," she said.
Thailand has never outlawed homosexuality and many people say the Buddhist culture promotes more acceptance of sexual differences. But, a survey conducted last year indicates 58 percent of the Thai public still holds traditional beliefs that same-sex marriage is not natural and sets a bad example for children. Wirat Kalayasiri is a member of the Thai parliament and deputy director of the committee drafting the same-sex law. He says the average age of lawmakers, older than 45, has made the promotion of the law more difficult. "There are groups that do not agree, elderly people who do not understand the feelings of those people. A second group are those with strict religious beliefs such as Roman Catholic or Islam which are quite strict on this issue," he said.