Parliament Passes Marriage Equality Bill and 3 Related Bills

Parliament passed the first reading of the marriage equality bill in a historic move on Wednesday.

A vote of 210 to 180 with four abstentions passed the same-sex marriage bill after four hours of deliberation. The bill was sponsored by the Move Forward Party (MFP).

Parliament also passed three related bills that give conferring differing legal status to civil unions between people across all gender. Two civil partnership bills were sponsored by the Cabinet and the Democratic Party and were passed in principle, with 222 to 167 and 251 to 124, respectively, and 30 abstentions.

The third bill, approved with a vote of 230 to 169, modifies the Civil Code on all-gender civil unions.

MFP MP Thanyawaj Kamolwongwat, who zealously supports the marriage equality bill, said during the debate that the LGBTQI+ community’s members have demanded their rights and deserve to be treated without discrimination in their marriages.

During an impassioned speech to parliament, Mr. Thanyawaj said that adopting the bill would show MPs’ open-mindedness and would be a victory for the people.

The government has previously opposed the marriage equality bill, saying that the MFP’s proposed draft was unnecessarily redundant compared to the government-sponsored law.

Democratic List MP Issara Seriwatthanawut also gave a speech in the chamber, criticizing the cabinet bill on the grounds that it sought to make LGBTQI+ people second-class citizens by limiting marriage to an opposite-sex union.

Mr. Issara argued that the Democrats’ bill is more open since it defines marriage as a union between people of any gender.

Meanwhile, the LGBTQI+ rights movement’s members outside parliament submitted a letter asking the House of Representatives to pass the marriage equality bill.

The letter, received by Tankhun Jitt-itsara, Secretary to the Political Working Group of the House of Representatives’ Speaker, said that the same-sex marriage bill would make the marriage law applicable to any couple of any gender.

The LGBTQI+ group also criticized the government’s Civil Partnership Bill, arguing that it does not fully support same-sex marriage and saying that they are seeking not special but equal treatment.