Opposition rallies MPs to push through same-sex marriage bill
The opposition chief whip is rounding up MPs to speak in support of the Marriage Equality Bill, fearing the government will kill it during the first reading on Wednesday.
Chief whip Sutin Klungsang, a Pheu Thai MP, said the opposition will repeat the strategy used successfully for the Move Forward Party’s Progressive Liquor Bill. The bill to allow market entry to small brewers sailed through its first reading last week after a well-coordinated debate by opposition MPs, which apparently convinced enough coalition MPs to vote in favour.
“The opposition will have to work hard for the Marriage Equality Bill. I mean all opposition parties must rally as many of their MPs as possible to speak in support of the bill,” Sutin said.
“I believe the government will listen to our opinions and we still have hope that the Marriage Equality Bill will be approved by the House.”
The Cabinet rejected the Marriage Equality Bill in March on grounds that the Justice Ministry already had a similar version, called the Civil Partnership Bill. The Civil Partnership Bill was approved by the Cabinet last week following revisions by the ministry after a series of public hearings.
However, the LGBTQ community has rejected the Civil Partnership Bill, saying it treated them as second-class citizens by allowing them to register only civil partnerships instead of marriages, as under the Marriage Equality Bill. LGBTQ activists say civil partnership registration would have less legal status and benefits than straightforward marriage.