Second ministry supports same-sex marriage in VietnamAround the World, Online Only, Top Highlights Tuesday, July 30th, 2013
Following on the heels of April’s historic announcement by Vietnam’s Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Justice’s Ha Hung Cuong has called for the end of marriage discrimination against same-sex couples. In a statement released Monday, the Justice issued a road map for the eventual legalization of same-sex marriage including the recognition of property between two cohabitating adults. The Justice also called for lowering the age at which women can marry. Currently, the law specifies that a man must be 18 and a woman 20 in order to enter into marriage. That law, according to a report in dti.vn, would make the age at which one could marry 18 regardless of gender. The ministry also supports the proposal to remove Clause 5, Article 10 in the 2000 Law on Marriage and Family law on banning same-sex marriages.
What is striking in these announcements is how unlikely they are coming from a Marxist-Leninist single party state. Moreover, there is no great push for marriage equality in this conservative Eastern country of 90 million people. According to a study released Dec. 13 by the Hanoi-based non-profit Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment (iSEE), 89 percent of people surveyed stigmatized the LGBT community. Support for same-sex marriage was quite low at 37 percent, while 58 percent opposed it. The study surveyed 854 people and interviewed 31 citizens and officials. Le Quang Binh, a sociologist who runs iSEE, said: “The reasons people give to justify their opposition to same-sex marriages reflect the dominant heterosexual philosophy behind sex, marriage, and family.”
“Whether the government recognizes same-sex marriages or not, I think we cannot continue with the social stigma against LGBT people,” Justice Minister Ha Hung Cuong said last July. “The government needs a legal mechanism to safeguard the legitimate legal interests of same-sex couples living together.”
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