HANOI — With Vietnam taking the lead in gay rights in South-east Asia by abolishing a ban on same-sex marriages, medical doctor Thuan Nguyen is planning a wedding ceremony with his boyfriend of two years.
“I am ready to have a wedding,” he said. “Many, many young people in love are optimistic about the acceptance of gay weddings.”
The revised law, while not officially recognising same-sex marriage, places the communist country at the forefront of acceptance of gay people among countries in Asia.
The National Assembly’s move is expected to attract more lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender travellers and boost Vietnam’s US$9 billion (S$12 billion) tourism industry.
The new marriage law, which took effect on New Year’s Day, abolished regulations that prohibit marriage between people of the same sex. Same-sex marriages can now take place, though the government does not recognise them or provide legal protection in cases of disputes. It abolished fines that were imposed on homosexual weddings in 2013.
No other South-east Asian country has taken as big a step towards accepting same-sex marriage, said Mr Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.