HANOI — Vietnam should legalize same-sex marriage immediately, the deputy minister of health was quoted as saying today by local media.
“As human beings, homosexuals have the same rights as everyone else to live, eat, love and be loved,” Nguyen Viet Tien told a government meeting discussing the upcoming review of the Marriage and Family Law, newspaper Thanh Nien said.
The National Assembly is scheduled to discuss allowing same-sex marriage when the law is reviewed in May.
Homosexual relations are not illegal in Vietnam, but discrimination persists amid strong conservative family values, and gay marriage is not allowed.
Debate over the rights of same-sex couples has gathered momentum in the country since July, when the Ministry of Justice announced that the legislature would debate the legalization of gay marriage.
Vietnam saw its first Gay Pride march in August, and a gay sitcom has gone viral on YouTube.
The government recently scrapped fines for same-sex couples who hold informal wedding ceremonies, after a public backlash against plans to double the fines.
Vietnam would be the first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage.