Same-sex marriage now legal in Vietnam, but without government recognition

Vietnam's National Assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed the law, which will take effect in 2017. Staff Reports

HANOI, Vietnam — Same-sex marriage is now legal in Vietnam under a revised law which went into effect New Year’s Day, abolishing regulations that “prohibit marriage between people of the same sex.”

VietnamBut while same-sex marriages can now take place, the government still does not recognize them or provide legal protections in cases of disputes.

Thee revised law, however, places the Communist country at the forefront of countries in Asia becoming more accepting of gay people. The National Assembly’s move is expected to attract more LGBT travelers and boost Vietnam’s $9 billion tourism industry, reports Bloomberg.

“No other country in Southeast Asia has taken as big a step toward accepting same-sex marriage as Vietnam,” said Phil Robertson, Human Rights Watch deputy director in Asia.

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Vietnam’s lawmakers had initially considered recognizing same-sex marriage, but believed the country wasn’t ready for it, according to Luong The Huy, legal officer at the Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment (ISEE), a Vietnamese group that advocates for minority rights.

“They say the society in Vietnam needs some time to accept gay and lesbians in general,” he said, adding that the revision in the law signals to the country that “same-sex marriage is not harmful to society.”

In 2013, Vietnam, which has a population of about 90 million, abolished fines imposed on same-sex weddings.

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