King Norodom Sihanouk has given his approval to same sex marriages in Cambodia, and said transvestites should be treated equally in society.
In a letter posted on his Web site Friday, the King noted the recent news coverage of same sex marriages in the US, particularly in the Californian city of San Francisco, and that he was in favor of Cambodia following the same example.
“Since the second Kingdom of Cambodia has chosen since 1993 to be a ‘liberal democracy,’ I believe that the second Kingdom must allow, if they so choose, marriages between man and man or woman and woman,” King Sihanouk wrote.
The King also stood up for the rights of Cambodia’s transvestites, called “Khteuys” in Khmer.
“Khteuys (neither man nor woman); those Khteuys must be accepted and well treated in our national community. As for homosexuals and lesbians, I respect them,” the King wrote.
The King is currently in Beijing receiving medical treatment for an assortment of illnesses.
Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith declined to comment on the King’s proposal Friday, saying it was a tradition to not comment.
According to Cambodia’s Law of the Marriage and Family, same sex marriage is prohibited. The article also states that marriage is also prohibited for impotent men, the insane and those who have not been completely cured of leprosy, tuberculosis, cancer or a venereal disease.
Ky Tech, president of the Cambodian Bar Association, said Friday the law was still in use in courts.
(Additional reporting by Phann Ana)