Hundreds Support Gay Marriage in Vietnam
In anticipation of a Parliamentary debate on same-sex marriage planned for next month, hundreds of people in Hanoi, Vietnam, came together on the morning of Oct. 27 to watch a staged same-sex wedding between two couples.
According to Voice of America, two brides and two grooms took part in a wedding ceremony as 300 observers waved rainbow flags in support.
Voice of Russia reported that one bride who gave her name as Linh said, "Today I feel so happy because I can take part in a wedding with the woman I love."
The ceremony was part of the "Toi Dong Y" festival (translated as "I do" or "I agree") that was organized by LGBTs groups across Vietnam. The festival is being held to raise awareness around the issue in anticipation of revision to the Marriage and Family Law at the National Assembly on Nov. 5.
The revisions will not include the legalization of gay marriage, but it will remove the ban against it, and could include provisions for same-sex couples who live together.
Organizer Le Quang Binh, director of the Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment (iSEE), said he believes same-sex marriage will be legalized eventually.
"I believe in people and I think that when everybody speaks out, everyone has to listen whoever you are. So that's why we do it this way. We mobilize public opinion, LGBT, students, young people so when people speak their opinion, politicians will have to listen," Binh told Voice of America. "And I believe that politicians are also human beings. They need time to understand."
Binh said that views around homosexuality were beginning to change in Vietnam, pointing to the country's first gay Pride parade last year as evidence, as well as the 52,000 Facebook "likes" the "I do" event gained in only two weeks.
He added that legalizing same-sex marriage would go far in helping the country's commitment to international human rights standards, especially in the face of recent restrictions on freedom of speech and political bloggers being imprisoned.