Vietnam takes step to lead Asia on marriage equality
Vietnam could become the first country in Asia to allow for same-sex marriage, with a senior minister from the country’s government speaking about the issue for the first time as it continues its public consultation on the issue.
In early July, the Ministry of Justice announced it would be seeking public comment on proposed amendments to the Marriage and Family Law including changes allowing for same-sex marriage.
The Ministry has said legal recognition may be necessary as more LGBT citizens are being open about their relationships, with some even conducting their own wedding ceremonies.
“To guarantee personal freedom, the marriage between same sex people needs to be recognized,” the Ministry stated.
In an online debate earlier this week, Justice Minister Ha Hung Cuong said although he personally thought it “unacceptable to create social prejudice against the homosexual community” the government would have to carefully consider customs and ethics as well as cultural and legal issues.
“Personally, I believe that the recognition or non-recognition of same sex marriage should be based on very basic research, the credible assessment of impact on many social and legal aspects such as personal freedom, compatibility with cultural and social practices of Vietnamese families, sensitivity, social consequences of the law,” Cuong said on July 24.
“The State should also have legal mechanisms to protect the legitimate rights such as legal personality, property ownership or children (if any) of same sex couple living together.”
Le Quang Binh, a sociologist who directs the non-profit Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment in Hanoi, commended Cuong’s comments saying Vietnam could be soon seen as a regional leader on gay rights.
“As far as I know, no Asian country allows same-sex marriages,” Binh told Vietweek.
“This idea has impressed my colleagues from other countries in the region who are very hopeful that Vietnam would be able to deliver on this.”
A survey in June of 5,000 gay respondents conducted by Information Connecting and Sharing – an NGO which works to improve LGBT rights in Vietnam – found that just over 71 per cent of them wanted to get married to same-sex partners.