VietNamNet Bridge - Many gay couples expressed their excitement and planned their weddings after they knew that Decree No. 110 eliminated the same-sex wedding from the ban list.

Same-sex weddings officially permitted in Vietnam


Gay couples are excited about the information that gay marriage is put off the banned list. Photo: Julian & Weenny.


According to Article 8 of Decree 87 dated 2001, marriages between people of the same gender are violations, which are subject to administrative fines from VND100,000 to VND500,000 ($5-25). However, Decree No. 110 that took effect on November 12, 2013, does not mention the administrative sanctions for this the marriages or weddings of the same-sex people.

The LGBT (lesbian, bisexual, transgender) community has expressed excitement that the new regulations are the results of the movement calling for support for same-sex marriage in Vietnam in recent years.

"Is it real that gay people can get married? Then we have to get married soon," a member named Trung Dung wrote on a forum for gays.

Ms. Thuy, 26 years old, a lesbian in HCM City says that "I have the right to do what the law does not prohibit," so she is planning a wedding to her girlfriend this year end.

"Because the law does not allow same-sex marriage, we will only organize a traditional wedding. We have been waiting for this day so long," Thuy says.

However, according to lawyers, the homosexuals have misunderstood. Lawyer Vu Tien Vinh from the Bao An Law Firm in Hanoi says that Decree 110 does not mean that the law recognizes gay marriage as many people misunderstand.

In accordance with the 2000 Law on Marriage and Family, marriage between people of the same sex is prohibited. So far, this law is still valid because it has not been amended. The new regulations do not stipulate sanctions on weddings between gay people; it’s just because the legal system doest not consider the act an administrative violation.

Under the current regulations, marriage is the case in which a man and a woman establish a conjugal relationship and get married. So the relationship between two men or two women is not considered marriage. Their wedding ceremony is only rituals or a party so it is not prohibited or sanctioned.

This is also the opinion of Mr. Ha Dang, Head of the Ha Dong Lawyer Office in Hanoi. Dang says that the newly-issued Decree 110 does not mention of the wedding of same-sex people, which means that it does not adjust this relationship or the law does not prohibit gay weddings but it does not mean allowing them to do it.




The latest announcement of the ICS Center also explains that "The information that Vietnam has allowed same-sex marriage is inaccurate."




According to Dang, if the law does not prohibit, people can do it, but if it goes beyond limitation or violates ethics and affect the surrounding objects (gatherings, harassment, public disorder...) the authorities can ask to stop.

To avoid misunderstandings in the LGBT community, the website of the ICS Center (the organization promoting and protecting the rights of the Vietnam LGBT community) explains: You should make a clear distinction between marriage (with certifications) and organizing weddings (only ritual) which are two completely different things.

In fact, up to now the law does not prohibit a wedding between gay people but only marriage registration. However, some local officials are still confused and saw the "wedding organization" synonymous with "marriage," and this is not true.

The ICS Center says that Decree 110 is an important step in the process of mobilizing for change on same-sex marriage law. "So that from today, organizing of weddings (not marriage registration) between people of the same sex is perfectly legal and there is no administrative sanctions on that act (owing to misunderstanding of local governments) as the cases before. From now on, you shall be free to organize weddings and live together. If local authorities make intervention, you can invoke this Decree to speak protection of your legal rights," the ICS Center’s announcement says on the biggest site for the LGBT community in Vietnam.

Mr. Huynh Minh Thao, PR manager for the ICS Center highly appreciates Decree 110 since it will help reduce people’s misleading about marriage registration and wedding ceremony and once again emphasize the rights of gay people, they are entitled to live and love each other.

Le Ha