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Several countries -- from Singapore to Myanmar and Pakistan -- still retain colonial-era "sodomy" laws that punish adult consensual same-sex conduct.

The authorities publicly whipped same-sex pairs accused of attempting intimacy in Indonesia in 2017 and Malaysia in 2018.

And don't discount Nepal-the Supreme Court ordered the government to study a pathway toward same-sex relationship recognition in 2007 and the resulting 2015 report recommended government action.

The legislation comes as other places in Asia have been making similar strides in recent years, together generating a wave of progress for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, people.

Thailand's 2015 Gender Equality Act was the first national legislation in the region to protect gender expression.

In the Philippines, over a dozen municipalities and at least five provinces have enacted local LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination laws.

In terms of marriage rights, attention may now turn to Japan or Thailand as perhaps the next territories to recognize same-sex relationships, because in both states, there is already significant momentum. K., Canada, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand in Tokyo urged the national government to act earlier this year.

Twenty municipal governments across Japan recognize same-sex relationships by handing out symbolic though unofficial "partnership certificates," and a high-profile lawsuit filed earlier this year will challenge the lack of relationship rights at the national level. In Thailand, the cabinet supported a relationship recognition bill and sent it to the National Legislative Assembly for consideration.

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