Vietnam has legalized gay weddings.
The south-eastern Asian country has officially allowed same-sex couples to organize weddings and have the right to live together.
While the unions won’t be legally recognized as marriages, gay rights campaigners believe it is a large small step on the path to equal rights.
The Government has taken this step after two fines were handed out to a gay and lesbian couple who chose to have a marriage ceremony in the southern provinces of Kien Giang and Ca Mau.
The couples were charged with holding a ceremony ‘contrary to the habits and customs of Vietnam’ and the Law on Marriage & Family of Vietnam which bans marriage between persons of the same sex.
But now with the changing of the law, gay weddings will no longer be illegal.
After starting consultations with relevant departments in summer 2012, same-sex marriage itself was due to be voted on in May this year.
It is believed the next step will be to equalize the age at which men and woman can get married. Currently the marriageable age for boys is 20 and 18 for girls.
Le Quang Binh, gay rights activist and ISEE director, said: ‘We are going the right way in the fight for same-sex marriage.
‘This might be the first step, but it will still change people’s lives for the better.’