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Thailand's Senate approves historic bill legalizing same-sex marriages

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Thailand's Senate approves historic bill legalizing same-sex marriages
  • Thailand’s Senate approved a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, clearing the last legislative hurdle for the country to become the first in Southeast Asia to enact such a law, on June 18, 2024.
  • The Senate voted on Tuesday, the first day of the current parliamentary session, suggesting urgency in getting the bill passed.
  • The government hosted a celebration at Government House. The ground was decorated with rainbow carpets, flags and a giant balloon in the shape of two hands making a heart sign. The party was joined by politicians, celebrities, diplomats and activists from the LGBTQ+ community and their supporters who rode in a colorful parade of floats from Parliament after the vote.

Thailand’s Senate voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to approve a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage, clearing the last legislative hurdle for the country to become the first in Southeast Asia to enact such a law.

Thailand has a reputation for acceptance and inclusivity but has struggled for decades to pass a marriage equality law. Thai society largely holds conservative values, and members of the LGBTQ community say they face discrimination in everyday life.

The government and state agencies are also historically conservative, and advocates for gender equality have had a hard time pushing lawmakers and civil servants to accept change.

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Thailand will become the third place in Asia, after Taiwan and Nepal, to allow same-sex marriage. The marriage equality bill, which grants full legal, financial and medical rights for marriage partners of any gender, sailed through the House of Representatives right before the previous parliamentary session concluded in April with the approval of 400 of the 415 members who were present.

It passed its final reading in the Senate on Tuesday with the approval of 130 of the 152 members in attendance, with 4 voting against it and 18 abstaining.

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The bill now needs the pro forma endorsement of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, followed by its publication in the Government Gazette, which will set a date within 120 days when it becomes effective.

Fireworks shoot up into the sky in Bangkok, Thailand, on June 18, 2024, after the country’s Senate voted to approve a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

The timing of the Senate’s vote on Tuesday, the first day of the current parliamentary session, suggests the urgency in getting the bill passed. The legislation will amend the country’s Civil and Commercial Code to replace gender-specific words such as “men and women” with gender-neutral words such as “individual.”

But it was not approved without a hitch. One member of the Senate, retired army Gen. Worapong Sa-nganet, argued that the gender-specific terms should still be included in the law along with the gender-neutral terms. He said excluding them would be a severe “subversion of the institution of family” in Thailand.

After the vote, Plaifah Kyoka Shodladd, an 18-year-old who identifies as non-binary, took the floor and thanked everyone who supported the legislation, calling it a “force of hope” that will help Thailand become more accepting of diversity.

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“Today, love trumps prejudice,” Plaifah said.

The government, confident of the bill’s passage, announced several days ago it would host a celebration of the occasion later Tuesday at Government House. The ground in front of the main building was decorated with rainbow carpets, flags and a giant balloon in the shape of two hands making a heart sign. The party was joined by politicians, celebrities, diplomats and activists from the LGBTQ+ community and their supporters who rode in a colorful parade of floats from Parliament after the vote.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, who could not join the event because he recently tested positive for COVID-19, wrote his congratulations on social media platform X.

“I am proud of the collective effort of all stakeholders which reiterates the power of ‘unity in diversity’ of the Thai society. We will continue our fight for social rights for all people regardless of their status,” he wrote.

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Passing the law is a “triumph for justice and human rights,” said Mookdapa Yangyuenpradorn of the human rights organization Fortify Rights.

“The Thai government must now focus on ensuring swift and effective implementation of this law to safeguard LGBTI+ rights,” she said. “Marriage equality is fundamental to human dignity, and it is essential that Thailand protects these rights without delay or discrimination.”

The government led by the Pheu Thai party, which took office last year, has made marriage equality one of its main goals. It made a major effort to identify itself with the annual Bangkok Pride parade earlier this month, in which thousands of people celebrated in one of Bangkok’s busiest commercial districts.

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Exclusive-Logistics Giant Lineage Raises $4.45 Billion in Biggest IPO in 2024

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Exclusive-Logistics Giant Lineage Raises .45 Billion in Biggest IPO in 2024
By Echo Wang NEW YORK (Reuters) – Lineage, the world’s largest operator of cold-storage warehouses, raised $4.45 billion in its U.S. initial public offering, setting it up for the biggest stock market debut globally this year, two people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. The Novi,
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Death toll reaches 6 in Mexican tequila distillery blast

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Death toll reaches 6 in Mexican tequila distillery blast

Rescue teams on Wednesday found another body at a tequila distillery in Mexico a day after an explosion and fire, bringing the death toll to six. Two workers were injured.

The factory belongs to the Jose Cuervo company, one of Mexico’s most famous tequila brands.

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The local civil defense posted on X that the latest body was found in a waste area where large containers had collapsed.

A Mexican flag waves in front of The National Palace, the office of the president, in Mexico City’s main square, the Zocalo, at sunrise, April 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

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The company on Tuesday said the explosion occurred as employees were carrying out maintenance work. Authorities on Tuesday night said the situation was under control, but on Wednesday morning a fire broke out in a storage area with cardboard and other materials.

The town of Tequila is about 375 miles northwest of Mexico City. Overlooked by a volcano and surrounded by plantations of agave, the plant from which the liquor is produced, life in the municipality of 40,000 residents revolves around tequila production and the tourism it generates.

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Paris Olympics: Pitch stormings and Israel jeering marr opening games

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Paris Olympics: Pitch stormings and Israel jeering marr opening games

Paris Olympics day one summary and scores. Argentina-Morocco football game suspended for nearly two hours amid pitch invasions, as Israel’s national anthem jeered loudly before Mali clash in Paris.

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The Paris 2024 Olympic Games opened with a surprising 2-1 victory by Morocco’s men’s football team against pan-American champions Argentina, in Saint-Étienne, in a chaotic game that was suspended for nearly two hours after multiple individuals stormed the pitch.

Another stunning result came from Bordeaux, where Japan thrashed Paraguay 5-0, while France pleased the home crowds with a comfortable 3-0 win over the US.

The hosts got off to a less sparkling start in men’s rugby sevens, as they beat Uruguay 19 to 12 but tied with the US 12-12.

Tokyo 2020 gold medallists Fiji defeated the US too, 38-12, as well as Uruguay, 40-12, while Ireland overcame reigning world champions South Africa 10 to 5, who also lost to New Zealand 17-5.

Full football and rugby scores below.

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Israel’s national anthem loudly jeered before football clash against Mali

Israel’s national anthem was loudly jeered before the kick-off of their opening Olympic game against Mali at Paris Parc des Princes in Paris on Wednesday.

The game began with a massive security presence outside the stadium amid an increasingly strained international climate that has France’s safety efforts squarely in the spotlight.

The Israeli team arrived under a heavy police escort, with motorbike riders at the front and about a dozen riot police vans following behind.

Armed police officers patrolled the Parc des Princes stadium, although the atmosphere outside the venue was calmer.

Mali fans sang proudly when their anthem was played first. When it came to Israel’s anthem, boos and whistles immediately rang out. The stadium speaker system playing the anthems then got notably louder in what seemed like an effort to drown out the jeers.

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Once play began, Israeli players were booed each time they touched the ball. Security officials intervened in what appeared to be a heated argument between some fans.

Several fans on the Mali stands were holding Palestinian flags.

Morocco stun pan-American champions Argentina following nearly two-hour game suspension

Morocco secured a wild 2-1 win over Argentina at the start of the Olympic men’s football tournament on Wednesday – but not before furious fans invaded the pitch to protest what appeared to be an equaliser in the 16th-minute of stoppage time.

Objects were thrown onto the field and security had to restrain fans, causing the game in Saint-Etienne to be suspended for nearly two hours and the crowd being told to leave the stadium.

The goal was eventually ruled offside just before play resumed, sparking celebrations from Morocco players as the final minutes concluded.

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It was a chaotic and dramatic start to the tournament after Argentina, which won gold medals at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, and are viewed as the favourites in France, mounted a comeback after going 2-0 down on goals from Soufiane Rahimi.

Giuliano Simeone struck in the 68th minute and Argentina peppered Morocco goalkeeper Munir El Kajoui with shots before Medina’s header from close range appeared to tie it.

That caused outrage from Morocco fans, who rushed the field, while others threw trash, and the game was officially put on hold.

Rahimi had put Morocco ahead in first-half stoppage time, then converted on a penalty kick in the 49th, which proved to be the decisive goal against an Argentina team that included four members of the squad that won the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

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Hosts France off to good start in football

Stunning goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Michael Olise helped France to a 3-0 victory over the United States. Loic Bade added the third with a late header to seal a win that had looked in doubt until former Arsenal striker Lacazette struck with a long-range effort in the 61st minute in Marseille.

The host nation had to ride their luck against an American team that saw a shot from Djordje Mihailovic hit the crossbar when the game was still goalless. Lacazette’s goal came almost immediately after.

Paris Olympics day 1 results

Men’s Football, group stage

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  • Argentina 1-2 Morocco
  • Uzbekistan 1-2 Spain
  • Guinea-New 1-2 Zealand
  • Egypt 0-0 Dominican Republic
  • Iraq 2-1 Ukraine
  • Japan 5-0 Paraguay
  • France 3-0 US
  • Mali 1-1 Israel

Rugby sevens, men’s pool

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  • Australia 21-14 Samoa
  • Argentina 31-12 Kenya
  • France 12-12 US
  • Fiji 40-12 Uruguay
  • Ireland 10-5 South Africa
  • New Zealand 40-12 Japan
  • Australia 21-17 Kenya
  • Argentina 28-12 Samoa
  • France 19-12 Uruguay
  • Fiji 38-12 US
  • Ireland 40-5 Japan
  • New Zealand 17-5 South Africa
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