House committee chair apologizes for gay men kissing in parliament
Chairwoman of the House Committee on the Affairs of Children, Youth, Women, the Elderly, the Handicapped, Ethnic Minority Groups and Trans genders has offered an apology today (Thursday) for an incident, involving two gay men seen kissing at a media conference in parliament yesterday.
The conference was being held by Future Forward MPs to highlight a proposal to amend Thailand’s laws on marriage.
Pheu Thai MP of Khon Kaen province, Mukda Pongsombat, admitted to the media that the incident was inappropriate and unexpected, and that she had already informed House Speaker Chuan Leekpai about the matter.
She claimed that she could not sleep last night because of the incident and, although a symbolic sign of sexual equality which could take place anywhere, it should not have happened in parliament.
“As the chairwoman, I accept a lack of prudence, but it was unexpected,” said Mukda.
The House committee spokesman and Future Forward MP Tanyawat Kamonwongwat offered a public apology yesterday, claiming that the kissing incident was unpredictable and had not been pre-arranged by the committee, adding “Had we known before we would have told them (the two gay men) to express their affection by other means, such as by holding hands,” said the MP.
Footage of the incident, however, which was shown on a TV station, shows the Future Forward MP standing next to the two gay men, apparently directing and, later on, clapping his hands when the men started kissing each other.
The incident has sparked widespread rebukes of, what they allege to be, shameful and improper behaviour.
Senator Somchai Sawengkarn said in his Facebook post today that he found the incident too shameful and beyond forgiveness, as he urged parliament to probe the ethics of the MPs and the House committee concerned.
National artist and SeaWrite Award writer in Liewarin asked, in his Facebook post, whether the incident was proper and “how can we teach our children?”
Knowing how to behave correctly in the right place and at the right time is a sign of maturity, he said, as he cited a bad joke once made by former US president Ronald Reagan on an open microphone about the US bombing of Russia.
Exiled Thai academic Pavin Chachavalpongpun said gay men kissing each other was not the problem, and is an act which should be supported, adding that the real issue is that a Future Forward MP was cheering and directing the act.