The ban on same-sex marriage in Vietnam is set to be lifted when a law change comes into effect next year.
Amendments to the country’s Law on Marriage and Family will take effect on 1 January 2015, replacing the previous rule which forbade marriages between members of the same sex.
Despite the ban being lifted, the law still says it will not recognise gay marriages, so while same-sex couples will be able to marry in Vietnam starting next year, they will not have the same legal protections that heterosexual married couples are given.
Another provision to the amended law is to officially set the legal age at which a person can marry. Women have to be 18 before they can get married, whereas men have to be 20. Prior to the change in the law, these ages were set loosely.
The country’s National Assembly decided upon these amendments in June after input from various legal experts.
One of these experts, Dr Dinh Xuan Thao of the Legislation Studies Institute, said that by neither banning nor recognising gay marriage, “Vietnam has made a remarkable move”.
He said the decision had been based on considerations of “historical customs and habits” in addition to the laws on marriage equality in other nations. There are only 17 countries around the world which actually recognise same-sex marriage, Thao added.
In 2015, Ireland could also see a ban on gay marriage lifted as a referendum was announced to take place sometime in May.
Photo of the Vietnam flag by little_ram via Flickr