Hope for better things to come are on ice after two popular opposition measures were placed on hold under a stalling maneuver masking inaction as action.
While bills advancing same-sex marriage and home brewing were forwarded for cabinet approval yesterday, the move was seen as a way to keep them in limbo. The cabinet has two months to act, after which the bills return to parliament and the cycle may be repeated indefinitely.
Progressives and opposition lawmakers of the Move Forward Party who sponsored the bills were disappointed after parliament voted narrowly to punt them down the road in a 207-196 vote.
The booze bill would provide opportunities for distillers and brewers to enter the market and stimulate competition. Outdated laws protecting the biggest monopolies make brewing essentially illegal for small-batch or craft brewers. To earn a license to operate, brewers must produce 100,000 liters a year. Those who get around by bottling it overseas and importing it back home pay the price in high duties passed on to consumers.
Then there was Move Forward’s same-sex marriage bill, which would go beyond the civil partnerships bill that has languished for years in parliament. Despite strong public support, lawmakers have failed to take action. Proponents were crestfallen late last year when a top court rejected same-sex marriage as a constitutional right in shockingly crude terms.
The legislative stalling was criticized today on social media via the hashtag #SameSexMarriage.
As for a light at the end of the COVID tunnel? Hope that recent proclamations were once again shot down when Anutin said Tuesday that people should “not rush to conclusions” following the Disease Control’s insistence that it’s time to move on and live alongside Omicron.