Thailand's military government has backed a bill which seeks to recognize gay and lesbian couples with civil partnerships.

According to The Guardian, the bill will not be heard until after new lawmakers are seated following Thailand's general election in February.

Nada Chaiyajit, a 39-year-old activist who was consulted on the bill, called it a “big moment” for Thailand's LGBT community.

“They [ministers] have studied the UK and other countries and seen that the first step is civil unions,” Chaiyajit said. “I'm confident that within five years they'll put [full] marriage equality on the agenda.”

At the moment, no country in Asia recognizes the unions of gay couples. In November, a referendum on same-sex marriage failed in Taiwan.

(Related: Taiwan voters reject same-sex marriage.)

An advisor to Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha's office told the Bangkok Post that the bill would allow gay couples to jointly adopt children. The Guardian pointed out that a draft of the bill does not explicitly mention adoption.