Vietnam to discuss legislation providing the freedom to marry

Officials from Vietnam's Justice ministry announced plans to consider the freedom to marry on Sunday. The Justice ministry will have until May to draft a proposal where the National Assembly will need to grant majority approval during their spring congress for the proposal to become a law.

Should such legislation pass, the socially conservative country would become the first Asian country to pass a law extending marriage or registered partnership protections to same-sex couples. 

The ministry had sent out letters to organizations like the Supreme Court of Vietnam, the government's family department and Hanoi Law University requesting their opinions about the freedom to marry earlier this year.

Government officials then began discussing the matter at meetings in Hanoi in April and Ho Chi Minh City in May. The issue seemed to really pick up steam after a wedding ceremony between two men drew thousands of people around the event, causing traffic jams and protests. Although the Vietnam Law on Marriage and Family bans marriage between people of the same sex and restricts the Vietnamese government from recognize same-sex unions, the couples' story became widespread on Vietnamese media outlets, causing heated debates about same-sex marriages among citizens.

Officials from the ministry stated that "cohabitation among same-sex couples is a real phenomenon," stating that "in order to protect individual freedoms, same-sex marriage should be allowed."

Though the ministry will most likely be reviewing cultural, legal, customs and ethical components while drafting the bill, the law could potentially include property, inheritance, and adoption components for same-sex couples. Pervious law against any form of cohabitation was repealed under a marriage law that was approved by parliament in 2000.

Vietnam will host its first gay parade August 5 and could soon join the 11 other countries around the world that offer the freedom to marry, should proposed legislation pass.

We applaud Vietnam in their decision to provide all loving and committed couples the freedom to marry and commend them for their bravery in their efforts to become the first Asian country to approve the freedom to marry.