How Thai couples are getting married in the world’s most conservative nation
- by admin
Thailand’s marriage law is not changing and has remained unchanged for over a century, but the country’s conservative religious groups are working on a way to make the process easier.
The law has been amended three times since 1975, but experts say it is still unclear how many marriages are legalised and the practice of traditional marriage remains strong.
In the past few months, many couples have been married in churches, but religious groups say that has been more than half of the marriages, leaving the vast majority of marriages to be done at home.
Thailand’s marriage market is estimated to be worth nearly $7 billion a year, making it the biggest in Southeast Asia.
It is estimated that at least 10 million couples in Thailand live in households where one or both parents are not married.
The government says that it has made significant efforts to help increase the number of marriages, but that its current strategy to allow couples to get married at home is not working and it is trying to shift to the next step, where both parents can be married at the same time.
“Thailand has a history of allowing both parents to be married together,” said Mr Samui Wannamawasakorn, a law lecturer at the University of Thailand.
“It was the norm in rural areas, but there was no way it would be tolerated in cities.”
Thailand is known for its conservative religious practices and a large proportion of the population practise them, making the issue of the religious marriages more complex than it is in other Southeast Asian countries.
The National Association of Evangelicals and Religious Groups (NAEJ), which represents more than 70,000 religious groups in the country, said there was a strong desire among couples to wed but it was still too early to say how many couples were married.
“We’re still trying to find out the number,” Mr Samuwat said.
“We’re trying to reach out to the clergy to let them know that this is a great opportunity to start a family.”
The NAEJ said in a statement that it was “actively engaging with the government” and the ministry of health to increase awareness of the issue.
“Naeja is aware of the need to improve the availability of legal services in the provinces where there is a large number of couples that are unable to marry at home,” the statement said.
“The ministry of education is also actively engaging with local community leaders to improve marriage education and training programmes for children and families.”
The group also said that the number and quality of marriages is improving and that the situation was improving.
“For some couples, the number is still high, but for others, it is less than 10 percent,” Mr Wannammawasarong said.
It is still too soon to know whether or not marriage equality will happen in Thailand, but it is clear that many couples in rural Thailand are trying to get it done.
Thailand’s marriage law is not changing and has remained unchanged for over a century, but the country’s conservative religious groups…
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