Poland's lower house of parliament on Friday: photo - PAP/Leszek Szymanski
The motion to reject the three draft bills had been submitted by an alliance of two conservative opposition parties, Law and Justice (PiS) and Solidarity Poland (SP), after a debate about the legislation in parliament on Thursday.
Two draft bills had been prepared through cooperation between the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) and the liberal, anti-clerical Palikot's Movement party (RP). A third was put forward by senior coalition partner Civic Platform (PO), the centre-right party of Prime Minister Donald Tusk (PO).
All three stressed that a legal basis for civil partnerships should be adopted irrespective of sexuality.
Regarding the first SLD and RP project, 276 MPs voted in favour of rejecting the draft legislation, 150 were against and 23 abstained.
In the second, 283 voted for throwing out the draft bill, 137 were against and 30 abstained.
Civic Platform's project saw 228 MPs vote to reject the bill, while 211 were against doing so and ten abstained.
The issue highlights sharp divisions within the Prime Minister's party.
Before the voting began, Justice Minister Jaroslaw Gowin declared that the draft bills contradicted the Polish Constitution, citing Article 18, which holds that “marriage as a union between man and woman” is protected by the state.
However, Prime Minister Tusk retorted that Gowin's interpretation of the constitution was “the minister's personal opinion, ” as cited by the Polish Press Agency (PAP).
Addressing the matter of homosexuals who are seeking civil partnerships, Tusk argued that it was the duty of parliament to find legal solutions that would make life easier for such couples.
Tusk reflected that this should be carried out “regardless of how we might regard the fact of homosexual couples living together.” (nh)