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A change brewing? More Tolerance in Southeast Asia for Gay Marriage

Posted: Jul 25, 2012

  A gay couple in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang recently exchanged wedding vows at a ceremony attended by their parents and hundreds of guests; a lesbian couple in Ca Mau Province only halted their wedding in February after authorities objected; a lesbian couple in Ha Noi and a gay couple in Sai Gon too grabbed headlines after photos of their weddings and celebrations went viral online.

Increasingly in a society driven by Confucian social mores and where singers are fined for wearing skimpy clothes on stage, gay and lesbian couples are confronting social disdain and legal constraints by coming out and declaring their orientation.

The country’s leadership is taking note. And considering legalizing same-sex marriages.

The Ministry of Justice is currently polling public opinion on the legalization of same-sex marriages as it drafts amendments to prevailing marriage laws. The amendments are set to be submitted to the National Assembly next May for approval.

Advocacy groups and activists have welcomed this move, saying Viet Nam could become a regional vanguard in fully acknowledging same-sex marriages of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community.

“As far as I know, no Asian country allows same-sex marriages,” said Le Quang Binh, a sociologist who directs the non-profit Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment in Ha Noi.

“This idea has impressed my colleagues from other countries in the region who are very hopeful that Viet Nam would be able to deliver on this,” Binh, who has headed several research projects on lesbian and gay issues, told Vietweek. 

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