Recognition of same-sex unions in Vietnam
|Legal status of same-sex unions|
* Not yet in effect, but automatic deadline set by judicial body for same-sex marriage to become legal
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.
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.
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. However, in February 2013, the Ministry of Justice requested that the National Assembly avoid action until 2014.
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) and would have provided some rights for cohabiting same-sex couples. The National Assembly debated it in October 2013. On 24 September 2013, the Government issued a decree abolishing the fines on same-sex marriages. The decree took effect on 11 November 2013. 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. The bill was approved by the National Assembly on 19 June 2014, and took effect on 1 January 2015.
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." In November 2013, the article was repealed and replaced by Article 36, which does not contain a definition of marriage. Article 36 reads:
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. In the case local authorities appear to sanction or make interventions, they can take this decree to protect their legitimate interests.
Universal Periodic Review 2019
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. On 4 July 2019, the Vietnamese Government "noted" (rejected) these recommendations.
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.
A March 2014 poll found that 33.7% of Vietnamese supported same-sex marriage, while 52.9% were opposed. 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.
- 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.
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