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Gay couple marries in traditional ceremony in northeastern Thailand

Gay couple marries in traditional ceremony in northeastern Thailand

The northeastern province of Khon Kaen witnessed its first same-sex wedding ceremony on Saturday, reported the English-language Bangkok Post.

The Post reported that Choengchai Plubpiboon, 42, the owner of the stainless steel maker PB Metal Co Ltd, led a traditional ‘khan mak’ engagement procession to the house of his partner Uthane Korasing, 30.

The festivities was attended by family and friends.

Choengchai offered Uthane’s family 1 million baht (US$30,000) and 10 baht-weight of gold ornaments worth 200,000 baht as a dowry, as it is customary for the groom to pay to pay a dowry to the bridge’s family in Thailand, the Post reported.

Thailand does not legally recognize same-sex marriage. The status of the civil union bill, which was reportedly being drafted by Democrat and Pheu Thai parties, is unknown after the May 22, 2014 coup.

Choengchai’s father Thongchai Plubpiboon told the newspaper that his son came out to him 15 years ago.

‘Our family accepts him as he is. He’s hard working and has built a business for the family so that we have everything. What he needed was the right partner,’  the father said.

‘When my son told us he would like to marry Uthane, I was shocked and then I felt happy for him. He finally found a good partner who understands him. I’m very happy for them.’

Two women married in a similar traditional ceremony in the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima last November with the blessings of their families.

A report issued by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) last year found that while the tourism authority actively promotes Thailand as a gay-friendly destination, acceptance of LGBTI people in society is still low.