The Ministry of Justice in Vietnam has announced some proposed amendments to the Marriage and Family Law so as to solicit concerns of individuals, agencies and organizations on the issue of same sex marriage.
Among the proposed and important amendments are the issues of same sex marriage and the lowering of marriageable age in both men and women.
According to a survey by the Ministry, the gay community, bi-sexual and the transgender community in Vietnam are showing much increase in numbers and their demand to be allowed to marry or live together is growing.
In fact recently, many gay weddings have been openly held in public, even at mass wedding ceremonies. Hence, the Ministry of Justice believes and has announced that, “in view of personal freedom, same sex marriages must be recognized”.
The current prevailing law does not allow for same sex marriage and hence the ministry has called for an amendment to the existing legal regulations.
Still, in view of the cultural background and traditions of the Vietnamese family, the sensitivity of social issues, and the resultant social consequences of the amendment to the law, all facts must be properly looked into.
With these viewpoints in mind, the recognition of same sex marriage in Vietnam is still too early. This means that for now, social conditions and general acceptance are not largely unanimous towards marriage of the same sex.
Judging from the fact that de facto marriages between homosexuals often lead to conflicting problems on personalities, division of property and custody of children, there must be a certain mechanism in place to sort out legal aspects and tackle consequences for gay couples to decide when they end their relationship.
Another amendment that is being discussed is the lowering of the marriageable age for both men and women. The Marriage and Family Law stipulated in 2000 that the minimum marriageable age for women should be 18 years, while for men it should be 20 years.
However, health experts warn that in a woman of 18 years, the pelvic area is not fully developed, and hence she is not ready for childbirth. Only by the age of 22, the female body is well fit to deliver a child. By lowering the marriageable age, the country will face a population explosion, a sudden increase in difficult births and several other obstetric complications.
There will also be a marked rise in caesarean births with the lowering of the age of motherhood as a result of lowering marriageable age for both men and women.