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Vietnam Takes Lead on Gay Rights by Eliminating Same-Sex Marriage Ban

On January 1, Vietnam officially abolished regulations that “prohibit marriage between people of the same sex.”


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Though the revision doesn’t officially recognize same-sex marriage, it “…makes Vietnam a leader in Asia,” Jamie Gillen, a researcher of culture geography at National University of Singapore told Bloomberg.

Though the Vietnamese government neither recognizes nor provides legal protections for feuding same-sex couples, according to Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, it is light-years ahead of other SE Asian nations which are either ignoring the issue (Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar) or moving the opposite direction (the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei).

Vietnam hopes that the apathy and malevolence of its neighbors will put the country in a good position to tap into the $100 billion that the LGBT community spends each year on tourism.

Increasingly friendly LGBT polices have already made their mark with one gay-friendly tour operator in Hanoi telling Bloomberg that bookings have increased as much as 50% over the past year.

Luong The Huy, legal officer at the Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment (ISEE), a Vietnamese NGO that advocates for minority rights said that while Vietnamese needs more time to “accept gay and lesbians in general,” the arrival of Ted Osius, the new U.S. ambassador to Vietnam, “promotes a very good image of a very successful person who is gay,” and, “…could [result in] more support from civil society in Vietnam.”

For Vietnam’s estimated 1.65 million LGBT citizens between the ages of 15 and 59, the revised law is an encouraging first step towards full equality. 

[Bloomberg]

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