Recognition of same-sex unions in Vietnam

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Legal status of same-sex unions

* Not yet in effect, but automatic deadline set by judicial body for same-sex marriage to become legal

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Same-sex marriage is not legal in Vietnam, nor is any other form of same-sex union recognized.


Homosexuality laws in Asia
Same-sex sexual activity legal
  Marriage performed
  Foreign same-sex marriages recognized
  Other type of partnership
  Legal guardianships or unregistered cohabitation
(stripes: nonbinding certificates)
  No recognition of same-sex couples
  Restrictions on freedom of expression
Same-sex sexual activity illegal
  Not enforced
  Life imprisonment
  Death penalty

Attempts to hold unoficial same-sex marriages in the late 1990s were met with mixed reactions from the Government of Vietnam. A male couple held a ceremony in Ho Chi Minh City in 1997. One official said, "It should be publicly condemned." However, the police said that there was no legal framework under which the two could be charged. Another attempt in 1998 by a lesbian couple in the province of Vĩnh Long, however, was officially sanctioned. In that case, the Ministry of Justice intervened and ordered the annulment of the union, saying it was "illegal and runs counter to the morals and traditional customs of the Vietnamese nation." As a response, a law was passed three months after their wedding officially banning same-sex unions.[1]

Previous laws against all forms of cohabitation were repealed under a new marriage law approved by the Parliament in 2000.[2]

In May 2012, a same-sex couple in Hà Tiên held a traditional, public wedding at their home but were stopped by local authorities. The event was reported widely on Vietnamese media and started a heated debate on the issue.[3]

Two months later, the Vietnamese Justice Minister, Ha Hung Cuong, announced that the Government was considering legalising same-sex marriage, stating that "in order to protect individual freedoms, same-sex marriage should be allowed." The subject was expected to be debated at the National Assembly in spring 2013.[4][5] However, in February 2013, the Ministry of Justice requested that the National Assembly avoid action until 2014.[6]

In June 2013, the Ministry of Justice submitted a bill that would remove the ban on same-sex marriage from the Law on Marriage and Family (Vietnamese: Luật Hôn nhân và Gia đình)[7] and would have provided some rights for cohabiting same-sex couples.[8] The National Assembly debated it in October 2013.[9] On 24 September 2013, the Government issued a decree abolishing the fines on same-sex marriages. The decree took effect on 11 November 2013.[10][11][12] On 27 May 2014, the National Assembly's Committee for Social Affairs removed the provision giving legal status and some rights to cohabiting same-sex couples from the bill.[13][14] The bill was approved by the National Assembly on 19 June 2014, and took effect on 1 January 2015.[15][16][17][18]

Legal situation[edit]

Previously, Article 64 of the Vietnamese Constitution stated that: "The family is the cell of society. The State protects marriage and the family. Marriage shall conform to the principles of free consent, progressive union, monogamy and equality between husband and wife. Parents have the responsibility to bring up their children into good citizens. Children and grandchildren have the duty to show respect to and look after their parents and grandparents. The State and society shall recognise no discrimination among children."[19] In November 2013, the article was repealed and replaced by Article 36, which does not contain a definition of marriage.[20][21] Article 36 reads:[22]

Men and women have the right to marry and divorce. Marriage must adhere to the principles of voluntariness, progressiveness, monogamy, equality and mutual respect between husband and wife.[a]

Since 11 November 2013, the Government no longer imposes any fines on people who carry out public same-sex weddings.[23] In the case local authorities appear to sanction or make interventions, they can take this decree to protect their legitimate interests.[24]

Universal Periodic Review 2019[edit]

On 22 January 2019, during the country’s third Universal Periodic Review, held by the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC), Iceland, the Netherlands and Canada recommended Vietnam to legalize same-sex marriage.[25] On 4 July 2019, the Vietnamese Government "noted" (rejected) these recommendations.[26]

Public opinion[edit]

A survey carried out in December 2012 showed that 37% of Vietnam's population supported the legalization of same-sex marriage, while 58% were against it.[27]

A March 2014 poll found that 33.7% of Vietnamese supported same-sex marriage, while 52.9% were opposed.[28] The poll showed that support for same-sex marriage was higher among younger respondents, respondents who have gay friends or family members, and those who have completed higher education. 73% of Vietnamese stated that legalising same-sex marriage would not negatively affect their families, while 20% said it would have a negative impact.

A survey carried out in December 2016 showed that 45% of Vietnam's population supported the legalization of same-sex marriage, while 25% opposed it.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ In Vietnamese: Nam, nữ có quyền kết hôn, ly hôn. Hôn nhân theo nguyên tắc tự nguyện, tiến bộ, một vợ một chồng, vợ chồng bình đẳng, tôn trọng lẫn nhau.


  1. ^ "The revolution in socialism: LGBTQ rights in Vietnam and Cuba". People's World. 22 June 2018.
  2. ^ "Vietnam Revised Marriage Family Law". Archived from the original on 2009-05-11. Retrieved 2009-05-01.
  3. ^ Gay Couple Fined by Local Authorities Archived 2013-12-02 at the Wayback Machine, TuoiTre Online
  4. ^ "Vietnam considers legal recognition for gay couples". Archived from the original on 2012-07-30. Retrieved 2012-07-29.
  5. ^ "Vietnam considers same-sex marriage". Archived from the original on 2012-12-09. Retrieved 2012-12-07.
  6. ^ "Vote on same-sex marriage in Vietnam likely to be delayed until 2014". Archived from the original on 2013-03-05. Retrieved 2013-03-01.
  7. ^ (in Vietnamese) Luật Hôn nhân và Gia đình năm 2014 Archived 2019-01-11 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ (in Vietnamese) P.Thảo (2013-06-26). "Sẽ không cấm kết hôn giữa người đồng giới?". Dân Trí. Archived from the original on 2013-06-27. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
  9. ^ "Gay rights in South-East Asia: Fifty shades of pink". Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2017-09-11.
  10. ^ "Vietnam to remove fines on same-sex marriage". Archived from the original on 2015-06-07. Retrieved 2013-10-06.
  12. ^ (in Vietnamese) Một số điểm mới về xử phạt vi phạm hành chính tại Nghị định số 110/2013/NĐ-CP Archived 2014-05-17 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Vietnamese lawmakers back down on giving rights to same-sex couples". Archived from the original on 2014-06-02. Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  14. ^ "Vietnam's Proposed Marriage Law Disappoints LGBT Activists". Archived from the original on 2016-01-28. Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  15. ^ "LAW On Marriage and Family". Archived from the original on 2017-12-05. Retrieved 2017-05-23.
  16. ^ "Vietnam allows surrogacy within families, denies same-sex marriage". Archived from the original on 2014-06-27. Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  17. ^ "Vietnam removes ban on same sex marriage". Archived from the original on 2015-07-09. Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  18. ^ "Vietnam Set To Lift Gay Marriage Ban". Archived from the original on 2015-01-03. Retrieved 2015-01-03.
  19. ^ "Constitution 1992 CHAPTER FIVE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF THE CITIZEN". Archived from the original on 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
  20. ^ (in Vietnamese) Nghị quyết sửa đổi, bổ sung Hiến pháp năm 1992
  21. ^ DPA (2013-11-28). "Vietnam amends Constitution". Archived from the original on 2014-01-02. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
  22. ^ "Hiến pháp năm 2013, Chương II: Quyền con người, quyền và nghĩa vụ cơ bản của công dân". (in Vietnamese). Archived from the original on 2018-11-13. Retrieved 2019-07-23.
  23. ^ "Vietnam legalizes gay weddings". Archived from the original on 2013-11-14. Retrieved 2013-11-14.
  24. ^ "Same sex weddings officially permitted in Vietnam". Archived from the original on 2013-11-14. Retrieved 2013-11-14.
  25. ^ "32nd UPR WORKING GROUP SESSIONS - SOGIESC RECOMMENDATIONS - Vietnam" (PDF). ILGA. pp. 53–56. Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 July 2019. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
  26. ^ "41st session of the Human Rights Council: UPR Outcomes - Vietnam. Statement by LGBTI - UPR Working Group in Vietnam, COC Netherlands and ILGA World" (PDF). ILGA. Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 July 2019. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
  27. ^ "Survey undermines progress of same-sex marriage in Vietnam". Archived from the original on 2012-12-23. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  28. ^ "One in three Vietnamese support marriage equality". GayStarNews. March 31, 2014. Archived from the original on April 26, 2014.
  29. ^ "Global Attitudes Survey on LGBT people" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2017-05-10. Retrieved 2017-06-18.