Vietnam: Vietnam’s draft amendment to the Marriage and Family Law while propagating marriage equality has failed to protect the rights of gay and bisexual men and women, says the country’s premiere civil society research institute.
“The bill continues to discriminate against homosexuals and does not protect the children of same-sex couples,” said the Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment, a science and technology organization working for rights of minority groups in society and which also advocates LGBT equality rights in the country.
The institute was reacting to the May 27 session of the National Assembly’s Social Affairs Committee proposing the removing of a ban on marriage among same-sex couples but at the same time stating that Vietnam “does not recognize marriages between people of the same sex.”
An earlier version of the draft, which was introduced to lawmakers last October, proposed that the government grant same-sex couples the right to shared assets, reports thanhniennews.com.
However, in the final draft introduced to lawmakers on May 27, that proposal was removed.
The institute said the LGBT community in Vietnam expected major changes in the proposed same-sex marriage law.
“But with the removal of a proposal to grant same-sex couples the right to share assets, the draft has abandoned [the rights] of millions of homosexuals, bisexuals and transgenders. They continue to face discrimination and abuse,” it said.
“The new draft amendment disregards recommendations from the United Nations. It also disappointed the international community who has come to expect Vietnam to be at the forefront of protecting the rights of LGBT,” the institute said.
The organization urged lawmakers to stipulate rights over the shared property and children of same-sex couples.
“The society, international community and millions of Vietnamese LGBT citizens expect the recognition of these rights. And that recognition falls in line with Vietnam’s stated commitment not to discriminate against any group when making a law.”
Vietnam’s progress on gay rights is in stark contrast to the laws that criminalize same-sex relations in nearby Malaysia, Singapore and Myanmar.
The Vietnamese government initiated lifting a ban on such marriages past November and legislators are set to make history by enshrining into law provisions acknowledging same-sex marriages and becoming the first country in Southeast Asia to legalize such marriages
Vietnam, which has a population of 90 million, has an estimated 1.65 million LGBT people.