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Vietnam ministry supports same-sex marriages

Tuesday, April 16, 2013, 12:16 GMT+7

Among its opinions on the amendments to the Law on Marriage and Family, the Health Ministry and some other  agencies have said homosexual marriage should be allowed, since it is a human right.

According to the ministry, Article 10 of the current law outlines cases in which marriage is banned and Item 5 of this article prohibits marriage between same-sex couples.

The prohibition is based on the grounds that same-sex marriage is against nature, does not serve the family’s function of maintenance of race, and is detrimental to the normal psychological and physiological development of children adopted by same-sex couples.

Lawmakers also worry that recognition of same-sex marriage will cause a “disappearance” of the definitions of “father” and “mother” in the Civil Code.      However, the ministry maintains that homosexuals, like everyone else, have the right to live, to dress, to love and to be loved, and to pursue happiness. As citizens, homosexuals have the right to have their birth and death certified, to get married, to go to school, and other rights, as well as obligations, to the State and society. However, because they have not yet been recognized by law, homosexuals usually hide their real identities and most of them face discrimination from their families and society. They are even forced to go into mental hospitals for treatment because their orientation is sometimes viewed as a mental disease. In Asia, China and India do not recognize homosexual marriage, but these countries legalized homosexual relationships in 1997 in China and in 2009 in India. In practice, the marriage of same-sex couples still takes place publicly. Therefore, whether or not homosexual marriage is allowed by law should be based on sociological inquiries, analysis, and assessments.

After all, the Health Ministry concluded that same-sex marriage should be allowed since it is a human right. Similarly, the Youth Study Institute said that same-sex marriage should be allowed and that it should be included in the amendments to the Law on Marriage and Family. The law should have a regulation to ensure homosexuals’ marriage and family and to ban any intervention into the family life of same-sex couples. The Institute for Prosecution Sciences under the Supreme People's Procuracy also proposed that the law should not interfere with the cohabitation of homosexuals. After all, in order to ensure their human rights, the law should not ban same-sex marriage. Meanwhile, the Hanoi People’s Committee, the Vietnam Women's Union and some other agencies have the opinion that the State should not recognize same-sex marriage, since it is against the nation’s customs and habits, and since many other countries have yet to recognize it. Same-sex marriage issues will be further discussed at the national conference on reviewing the implementation of the Law on Marriage and Family in Hanoi on April 16.

The amendments to the law will be submitted to the government in June and the National Assembly in October for consideration and approval.



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