News / Asia

Vietnam’s Proposed Marriage Law Disappoints LGBT Activists

Newly married same-sex couple Tran Ngoc Diem Hang (R) and Le Thuy Linh (2nd R) during their public wedding as part of a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) event on a street in Hanoi Oct. 27, 2013.
Newly married same-sex couple Tran Ngoc Diem Hang (R) and Le Thuy Linh (2nd R) during their public wedding as part of a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) event on a street in Hanoi Oct. 27, 2013.
Marianne Brown
The latest draft of Vietnam’s Law on Marriage and Family has disappointed gay rights activists who were hoping it would define legal rights for cohabiting same-sex couples.
 
Attitudes towards the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community have changed greatly over the last few years in Vietnam, a country with prevailing traditions of patriarchal family values.
 
Flashmobs, annual gay pride parades, musical events and rallies regularly attract hundreds of participants across the country.
 
But while supporters of LGBT rights have become more prominent over the years, especially among young urban Vietnamese, not everyone is in favor.
 
Le Quang Ha, 57, works odd jobs. Sitting with a group of women at a stall in Hanoi selling sandwiches, known as banh my in Vietnamese, he says he does not think same-sex couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples.

Through an interpreter, he said he thinks it is not natural for two people of the same sex to have a relationship and believes many people agree with him.

The women at the stall certainly do.

"I don't think same-sex couples should have legal rights," said the stallholder, who gave her name as Hien.

Vietnam's National Assembly says those views represent the majority of Vietnamese people. That's why lawmakers decided this week to remove an article in a draft of the revised Marriage and Family Law which defined legal rights for same-sex couples.

The law has been the subject of much campaigning over the last few years, with gay rights activists calling for the government to use the legislation as a way to tackle prejudice and discrimination.

Le Quang Binh, director of the Institute of Research for Society, Economy and Environment (iSEE) believes Vietnam’s lawmakers significantly underestimate the amount of public support for granting same sex couples some rights.

“Actually, according to our national survey of public opinion, more than 50 percent of the public support same-sex couples having the right to adoption and right to own property,” he said. “That was Article 16.”

Binh’s group issued a statement saying the omission of Article 16 “abandons millions of LGBT people,” and disappoints activists across the world who were looking to Vietnam to be a regional leader in promoting LGBT rights.

But Binh says the draft law does include some positive changes. It removes a previous article banning same-sex marriage, replacing it with a sentence saying the state does not recognize such unions.

“Before it was ‘wrong’ for two same-sex people to live together but now they said it’s not wrong, people have the right to be a couple but they are not ready to recognize same-sex marriage,” Binh said. “It’s a kind of baby step.”

An online petition calling for the reinstatement of the article has gathered over 10,000 signatures in just a few days.

The law on marriage and family is expected to be passed on June 19.

You May Like

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960s Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More