11 July 2024

Every year, numerous couples in Thailand register their marriages on Valentine’s Day, with special activities organised by district offices, where official marriage licenses are issued.

But this year is a little different, as at least 20 couples from Thailand’s LGBTQ community had their relationships unofficially recognised on Valentine’s Day today at a “registration” booth at the Bright Shopping Mall, close to the Bang Khun Thian district office.

Pongjakarin Tavornpong, director of the district office, who presided over the same-sex “registration” event, said today that, although it is not legally binding, the event was held by the district office to allow members of the LGBT community, who wish to express their intention to live together like heterosexual couples, to apply for “registration”, while the law on equal marriage rights for same-sex couples is still pending.

28-year-old Kittikhun Krongmalai said he heard about the event today via the webpage of a celebrity LGBT member and decided to come to the shopping mall to “register” with his lover of about ten years.

He also said that, when the same-sex marriage law comes into effect, they will immediately apply for official registration.

All the “registered” same sex couples were presented with some souvenirs presented by the private sector.

Meanwhile, at the Bang Rak district office, the atmosphere was lively and joyous from 5am, as 399 heterosexual couples streamed into the office for marriage registration.

The first couple, Cholsthit Chaiamnart and Wiranchana Singboonma, arrived before the office opened.

A native of Uttaradit province, Cholsthit said he has been seeing Wiranchana for about two years through an online service, because he works in Rayong province while his girlfriend works in Bangkok.

He said both decided to get register their marriage today because it is an auspicious day and they were very excited. They hoped to win a gold-plated marriage certificate, to be presented by the district office. Ten such certificates were available through the drawing of lots.

In the northern province of Chiang Mai today, several florists at Dokmai and Ton Lamyai flower markets complained of sluggish sales of roses and flower baskets and the high prices of roses.

One florist said people are wary of COVID-19 and the economic situation, so they tend to spend frugally, adding that the price of a rose has increased three fold to 15 baht due to their scarcity.