27 October 2013, 11:26

Hundreds gather to support same-sex marriage in Vietnam

Hundreds gather to support same-sex marriage in Vietnam

Around 300 people gathered in central Hanoi early Sunday for staged weddings as a protest in support of same-sex marriage ahead of a parliamentary debate.

Two same-sex couples took part in the ceremony in front of the crowds waving rainbow flags.

"Today I feel so happy because I can take part in a wedding with the woman I love," said one of the participants, who gave her name as Linh, as she and her partner, both in wedding dresses, exchanged rings on the stage.

The event was part of the "I do" festival organised by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transexual (LGBT) groups across the country, ahead of a planned debate on revisions to the Marriage and Family Law at the National Assembly on November 5.
The draft under debate does not include the legalization of same-sex marriage, but removes a current article that bans them and includes provisions for same-sex couples who live together.

In two weeks more than 52,000 people have "liked" a Facebook page set up for the "I do" event.

"I think it's important for the delegates to hear people's voice and opinions in support of same-sex marriage," said Le Quang Binh, director of the Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment (iSEE) and one of the event's organizers.

"The original draft [of the Marriage and Family Law] was debated last December but there are many complex issues like surrogacy, divorce, so that's why they decided to delay to have more information and evidence so they decided to debate on this section," Binh said.

Vietnam's LGBT community has grown more vibrant in recent years with several high-profile events, including the country's first gay Pride parade in 2012.

Voice of Russia, dpa

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