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Ban on same sex marriage to be lifted next year in Vietnam

The amended Law on Marriage and Family, which is to take effect early next year, will replace the current regulation that forbids same sex marriage.

The amended Law on Marriage and Family, which is to take effect early next year, will replace the current regulation that forbids same sex marriage.
The amended Law on Marriage and Family, which is to take effect early next year, will replace the current regulation that forbids same sex marriage.

The revised law, which was approved by the National Assembly (NA) on June 19, 2014, will come into effect on January 1, 2015 and replace the current one that was promulgated by the NA in 2000.

The new law abolishes the ban on marriage between people having same gender in order to avoid discrimination against homosexual couples, but also stipulates in Article 8 that the State shall not recognize marriage between persons of the same sex.

That means people of the same sex can get married in Vietnam but their marriage will not be protected by law in case disputes related to their marriage occur.

Also under the revised Law on Marriage and Family, the marriage age for men is set concretely at a full 18 years old for women and a full 20 years old for men.

In the current law, the respective ages are set loosely at 18 and 20 years old respectively.

The policy that neither bans nor recognizes the same sex marriagehas been adopted in the revised law after the NA got a lot of opinions from experts.

At the public consultative conference held in Hanoi in March 2013 to review the possible amendments to the law, Dr Duong Dang Hue, head of the Civil and Economic Law Department, said the solution that “same sex marriage should not be banned, but should not be recognized either” is suitable for the country’s current situation.

With the same view, Dr Dinh Xuan Thao, head of the Legislation Studies Institute, said, “After considering historical customs and habits and consulting foreign countries’ similar laws related to marriage and family, we can say that Vietnam has made a remarkable move by neither banning nor recognizing same sex marriage.

Accordingly, same sex couples are not allowed to register their marriage, but they can cohabit as a couple and share a household registration book, meaning they are allowed binding relations in terms of property, children, and related rights and obligations, Thao explained.

Currently there are only 17 countries and territories that recognize same sex marriage, Thao added.

According to statistics, Vietnam now has about 1.65 million homosexuals between the ages of 15 and 59, accounting for about 3 percent of the population.