Same-sex marriage in VN still long way off

VietNamNet Bridge – Viet Nam has made significant progress in accepting and improving the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, but it will take more time to secure the National Assembly's approval for same sex marriages, experts say.

Same-sex marriage, LGBT, homosexual people

Vietnamese youth take part in a campaign to mobilise support from the community for same sex marriages.— VNS Photo Courtesy from ICS

They were speaking at a conference held by the Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment and the Standing Committee of the National Assembly's Institute for Legislative Studies in HCM City on Saturday.

Le Quang Binh, head of the Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment (iSEE), said there had been considerable improvement in the LGBT situation compared to five years ago.

"There has been a lot of change now. The issue has received much concern from the public in recent years. I think we have made a big step, which other Asian countries envy," he said.

However, discrimination against the LGBT community remains high in the country because there are no laws protecting them, Binh said.

He said 95 per cent of LGBT people in the country have heard other people say that homosexuality is abnormal. As many as 48 per cent of the people believe that homosexuality can be cured and 57 per cent believe it is a social trend.

He cited a survey done by iSEE in 2009 that showed that despite the openness of Vietnamese society, only 2.5 percent of respondents said they were willing to come out regarding their true sexual orientation.

In another survey conducted last year, roughly 44 percent of gay people said that they would come out if discrimination against the LGBT community is reduced further.

Binh said that in a survey last year, 92 per cent of homosexual people said they hope the law would allow them to get married like heterosexual couples.

Vu Cao Minh of the HCM City University of Law said that current laws close the door of marriage to all homosexual people.

However, Viet Nam cannot realise same-sex marriage in a short period because there were several factors to be considered and overcome.

Minh felt Viet Nam should have an "intermediate step" before reaching the stage where gay marriages are approved.

Nguyen Thi Kieu Hanh, mother of a gay person, told National Assembly deputies at the meeting that a law approving gay marriages will make it possible for many people to find happiness.

"In a family which has a son who is gay, the mother suffers the most. The woman has to suffer pressure from family and the society due to her son's gender orientation.

"I don't know how many couples will get divorced after recognising their child is homosexual. I hope the law considers equal rights for the LGBT community to save more families from being broken," Hanh said.

Source: VNS

Same-sex marriage, LGBT, homosexual people