Vietnam lifts ban on same-sex marriage, becoming first Southeast Asian country to embrace gay rights

ReutersGonzaloFuentes
Vietnam has lifted a ban on same-sex marriage. The move is seen to attract more LGBT travelers, who can boost Vietnam’s $9 billion tourism industry, according to a report from Bloomberg.

The new Vietnamese law on marriage, which abolished regulations that previously prohibit marriage between people of the same sex, took effect on New Year’s Day.

In 2013, Vietnam abolished fines imposed on homosexual weddings.

“No other country in Southeast Asia has taken as big a step toward accepting same-sex marriage as Vietnam,” Human Rights Watch deputy director in Asia Phil Robertson said, according to Bloomberg.

Nguyen Anh Tuan, owner of Gay Hanoi Tours, confirmed the influx of LGBT travelers from abroad, saying that bookings have increased as much as 50 percent last year.

“The new law indicates to everyone that Vietnam is opening up more and welcomes everyone. Vietnam is changing very quickly. There are bigger gay communities and gay events,” he said.

The revised law still places the communist country ahead of other Asian nations like Singapore, which recently reaffirmed its ban on homosexual behaviour. Indonesia and Malaysia also have LGBT restrictions.

Earlier reports indicated that the Philippines is still considering laws to ban marriages between people of the same sex. In Thailand, the military upheaval last year stalled talks on official discussions to address same-sex laws.

Article via Bloomberg
Photo via REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes