Even Vietnam Might Have Marriage Equality Before America Does

Vietnam, a country with a Communist government and where homosexuality was seen as a “social evil” only a few years ago, may consider legalizing same-sex marriage:

“I think, as far as human rights are concerned, it’s time for us to look at the reality,” Justice Minister Ha Hung Cuong said Tuesday in an online chat broadcast on national TV and radio. “The number of homosexuals has mounted to hundreds of thousands. It’s not a small figure. They live together without registering marriage. They may own property. We, of course, have to handle these issues legally.”

The same-sex marriage proposal still has several hurdles before it could become law. The Justice Ministry will consider opinions from the public along with government agencies before submitting its draft proposal to the National Assembly next May on whether to recommend same-sex marriage or some other type of legal recognition with rights. Then, it must be approved by a majority of parliament.

There are still human rights violations occurring across the board in the country, but this would be a huge step in the right direction.

One of the reasons the gay rights movement has achieved so much in so little time in Vietnam is because the religious groups don’t have the voice they do in countries like America:

The country is socially conservative, but the government restricts the kind of politicized religious movements that typically push back against same-sex marriage in other countries.

So freedom of speech is restricted and that’s part of the reason they’re having progress… That’s a disturbing thought. I’d rather live in a country where free speech rights are protected even at the expense of religious people being able to command popular support for awful beliefs. I guess, sometimes, good things happen for bad reasons.

(Image via Shutterstock — thanks to @iUseRedstone for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1040683755 Steve Gray

    i think as uganda as shown right wing, hate spreading American christian groups need to be kept in America and not be allowed to spread their brand of hate and stupidity anywhere else in the world.  

  • A3Kr0n

    Off topic – How cool is it to have your flag like the visible light spectrum?

    • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

      You’re not suggesting that banner is Vietnam’s flag, are you?

  • mikespeir

    But they’re communist, and so immoral by definition.  

  • Russ M

    Sometimes I think the penguins  in Antarctica will have gay marriage before the U.S.  As the article points out, it’s the theocrats who hold societies back.  They’ve always been on the wrong side of history, and they’re wrong on this issue too.

  • Silver_fox-trot

    Communism is not all that bad. It’s good in theory, where it is the society as a whole that shoulders the good and the ill. Its like my friend who has been to Cuba several times says “yes, there are Human Rights. Iolations left and right, but its also a place where you can go to the doctor and university without worrying about money. Sure the people are poor, but when you know that your children wIll be taken care of, whats the problem?

    Its not any worse than a country that claims to treat everyone equally and then lets the rich treat the poor like dirt because they arent as rich as them. Or a medical system that made a friend of mine lose her house to pay for her sons medical bill, leaving all three children homeless.

    • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

      It’s not clear that either of these places are really Communist. The argument works best for despotism. Arguably, there is no better, more efficient form of government than a despotic one… if you have a benevolent despot. But that whole problem of the corruption of absolute power almost always rears its ugly head. How many individual despots manage to remain benevolent… let alone a series of them?

      • http://twitter.com/Spawn_of_Santa Spawn of Santa

        And of course, thank God that we don’t have ANY human rights violations in the United States….

  • amycas

    If the IRS had some teeth, then churches that politicize from the pulpit would lose their tax exempt status. Maybe then churches here wouldn’t have so much political power.

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/FDGYHBEWVNGUG763L5X4TON3JQ Nazani14

      Have you noticed that the political party that tries to insinuate religion into governance and protects the rich from paying the same percentage of income in taxes as the rest of us, also reduces funding for the IRS and every other inspecting agency?  I’m sure it’s all coincidence.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/FDGYHBEWVNGUG763L5X4TON3JQ Nazani14

    I’m sure the government has an eye on  gay couples’ tourism. 

  • Dplaat

    Vianam is a case study in how gray things can be. Complicated in how misunderstanding and greed creates the horrors of war. Ho CHi Min was first for independence, he didn’t care how. So he took help and turned to Communism because it was what he had to do to get the french out. The CIA just assumed he was another Mao or Stalin completely ignoring how he pursued peaceful independence for 30 years but he like the rest of the eastern world was ignored.    Stable and peaceful, but one Party Communist. The young have to go underground for dancing and drinking beyond the eyes of their parents and social police.  Its complicated, but jeans and ipods will win out since the country isn’t  walled up.

    • DaveDodo007

       This is not my experience of Vietnam, I seen plenty of nightclubs while I was there. There where loads of young people dancing and drinking so I don’t know where you are getting this from?

      PS I like your comment by mistake.

    • Secular Planet

      I, too, visited a very fancy nightclub in Saigon. And it wasn’t for foreigners either; I was the only white person there. So, what do you mean?

    • http://twitter.com/Spawn_of_Santa Spawn of Santa

      Actually, in WWII we assisted Ho and the Viet Minh in resisting the Japanese and Vichy French government in S.E. Asia.  The OSS even saved Ho’s life when he was suffering from dysentery, malaria and Dengue Fever.  The leader of our mission reported that he didn’t think Ho was a communist, but was instead a patriot that would work with whomever necessary to secure independence of his nation.  Stalin HATED Ho, thought he was a bad Marxist and Ho never really trusted Mao because of the long-standing bad relations between Vietnam and the Chinese, whom they had been at war with and occupied by numerous times.  We could have prevented the 2nd Indochinese War (we call it the Vietnam War, the Vietnamese call it the American War) simply by standing up for the principles and ideals of freedom and the right of people to self-determine.  Instead we installed a corrupt puppet regime that abused their own people and pocketed huge amounts of foreign aid at the expense of everyone (including our own soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines) and supported these s.o.b.’s to the bitter end.

  • Annie

    “They live together without registering marriage. They may own property. We, of course, have to handle these issues legally.”

    As a communist country, this may be more about controlling the dispersal of goods and property than anything else.

    • Stev84

      Vietnam is more China these days. Politically communist, but moving towards a free market economy. It’s why they are booming and doing relatively well these days.

  • Minami

    I would love to see Vietnam accept same-sex marriage. It’d be a big plus for gay rights in Asia.

  • Eddie

    Vietnam have never really had any laws against homosexuality though. All of it would be purely social opinion. 


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