LGBTI global news 24-7

It’s final. Gay wedding fines to go in Vietnam

The $24 fine will be scrapped from 11 Nov; however, legalization of same-sex marriage still a distant dream
A meeting hosted by Information, Connecting and Sharing where Nguyen Thi Thanh Thuy (left) narrates how she came to accept her son's homosexuality.
Photo by Viet Nam News

A new decree intended to address discrimination against the LGBT community in Vietnam comes into effect on 11 November, doing away with the current system of slapping fines of up to $24 on same-sex weddings.

However, while scrapping the symbolic punishment will boost gay rights in the communist country, it is still a long way from legalizing gay marriages, keeping gay couples in limbo.

Though the Vietnam government is tolerant of the gay rights movement and the annual gay parade is growing, legally, same-sex marriages are still banned.

While Justice Minister Ha Hung Cuong has proposed an amendment to the 2000 Marriage and Family Law, the amendment drafting board has recommended that same-sex marriages should not be banned.

Hoever, they should not be recognized either.

Since the Health Ministry pushed for the legalization of gay marriages in April, saying it was a human right and was also needed to combat AIDS, there is a growing debate on whether Vietnam should go the way of New Zealand and Britain.

While the ministry is supported by major institutions like the Youth Study Institute, and the Institute for Prosecution Sciences, it is being opposed by the Hanoi People’s Committee, which says homosexuality goes against Vietnam’s culture and is repugnant.

The committee has the support of institutions like the Vietnam Women's Union.

On Tuesday, key officials met at a public consultative conference in Hanoi to discuss possible amendments to the law.

Dr Duong Dang Hue, head of the Civil and Economic Law Department, advocated neither banning nor recognizing same-sex marriage, a position supported by many.

About 3 per cent of Vietnam’s population, or about 1.65 million people, are regarded as homosexuals.

While gay marriages can’t be registered legally, gay couples can live together and share properties and children.

The LGBT rights group, Information, Connecting and Sharing (ICS) is trying to drum up support for same-sex marriage and other gay rights.

On Sunday, it is hosting a conference where legal experts will discuss the proposed amendment, that is now under consideration in parliament.

It is also bringing in parents with LGBT children to discuss how they moved from the initial shock of discovery, anger or revulsion to a gradual understanding of different lifestyles and finally, acceptance of them.

Comment on a news story