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Vietnam’s Communist government, which long decried homosexuality as a “social evil,” could be the first governing body in Asia to allow same-sex couples to marry.The country’s Justice Ministry has proposed including same-sex couples in the country’s overhaul of its marriage law in response to a growing number of same-sex couples, the Associated Press reported Sunday.
Vietnamese courts are ill-equipped to handle legal issues that arise between same-sex couples living together, which has prompted the Justice Ministry to step in.
“It’s time for us to look at the reality,” Justice Minister Ha Hung Cuong said, according to the AP. “The number of homosexuals has mounted to hundreds of thousands. It’s not a small figure. … They may own property. We, of course, have to handle these issues legally.”
Vietnam, where currently gays can be whipped for being homosexual, is often criticised for its poor human rights record. Human Rights Watch claims the government “suppresses virtually all forms of political dissent” and freedoms are “tightly controlled.”
So, the government’s actions have come as a bit of a shock for both Vietnamese citizens and gay rights’ activists alike.
“I think everyone is surprised,” Indonesian gay rights activists Vien Tanjung told the AP. “Even if it’s not successful, it’s already making history.”
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