Vietnam is set to undertake their first-ever gay pride parade this weekend, according to the AFP. While the sanctity of marriage between same-sex couples is currently prohibited, Vietnam is considering marriage equality. If momentum occurs on this subject, Vietnam will be the first country in Asia to take this step toward equality.
“The parade is confirmed,” project developer Tam Nguyen told AFP. “We are expecting around 150 people. It is not the first gay pride event in Asia but we think it is the first in Vietnam.”
24-year-old Nguyen Thanh Tam organized the parade and said, ”The parade will give us visibility. It will show people we exist and we are confident. Maybe people [in Vietnam] didn’t do it before because they didn’t think they could do it on a large scale. The assumption was that Pride should always be big.”
Homosexuality is not illegal in Vietnam, but the focus in the communist country is on the traditional family structure and public demonstrations endorsing gay rights are routinely snuffed out by the authorities.
Gay Star News reported that Nguyen Hoang Bao Quoc and Truong Van Hen, a gay couple in the in the southern province of Kien Giang, prompted news stories last month when they held an extravagant wedding celebration with hundreds of guests. It was eventually stopped by the police. A fine of 200,000 Vietnamese dong ($10, €8) was incurred.
Justice Minister Ha Hung Cuong from the Ministry of Justice fell short of endorsing same-sex marriage, but told the media in an online discussion, “This problem must be considered carefully, thoroughly in many aspects: cultural, legal, custom and ethical practices.”
Adding, “Personally, I believe that the recognition or non-recognition of same sex marriage should be based on very basic research, the credible assessment of impact on many social and legal aspects such as personal freedom, compatibility with cultural and social practices of Vietnamese families, sensitivity, social consequences of the law.”