Civil Liberties

Vietnam Now Allows, But Does Not Officially Recognize, Same-Sex Marriage

The most permissive approach to gay unions in Southeast Asia


Another domino falls:

The chairman chose the pattern.

Vietnam's new marriage law, which went into effect New Year's Day, abolished regulations that "prohibit marriage between people of the same sex."

Same-sex marriages can now take place, though the government does not recognize them or provide legal protections in cases of disputes.

This has been in the works for a while, and it isn't the first step the country has taken toward a more permissive system. The government used to punish gay weddings with a fine, but that stopped in 2013. In practical terms, the real change happened then; it's just that now the marital law has been officially revised.

The fine, incidentally, was about $24. If this process ends with the nation fully recognizing same-sex unions, it'll be darkly comic if registering the marriage costs a $24 fee.