Vietnam Legalizes Same-Sex Weddings, Not Marriage
Vietnam's government is now allowing same-sex couples to hold wedding ceremonies, giving them the right to live together. Gay marriage, however, remains illegal, Gay Star News reports.
Even though marriage equality is not recognized, gay rights activists from the southeastern Asian country say the government is on the right track.
The move comes after two fines were issued to two same-sex couples who held a wedding 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 violating the Law on Marriage & Family of Vietnam, a measure that outlaws same-sex marriage. After the law was challenged, however, the government backed down, allowing same-sex weddings.
Vietnam's government was scheduled to hear a bill that would make gay marriage legal, but the vote was delayed even though government ministers say they back the measure, according to Gay Star News. Justice Minister Ha Hung Cuong says a gradual transition towards marriage equality is the correct approach in Vietnam.
"We are going the right way in the fight for same-sex marriage," gay rights activist Le Quang Bihn told Gay Star news. "This might be the first step, but it will still change people's lives for the better."
The website reports lawmakers will next legalize the age at which men and women can get married - currently, men have to be at least 20-years-old to tie the knot and 18 for women.