Last week, Vietnam became the first country in Southeast Asia to support same-sex marriage when the communist country’s National Assembly struck down the ban.
According to LifeSiteNews, the country’s motivation to strike down the ban came from pressure to attract homosexual tourism and the influence of U.S. foreign policy, which features Ted Osius, an active homosexual, as the new US ambassador to Vietnam.
“We could get more support from civil society in Vietnam because the American ambassador is gay,” said Luong The Huy, a lawyer with the homosexuality-advocating Institute for Studies of Society. “He promotes a very good image of a very successful person who is gay,” he said.
Though the government does not ban the union, it still does not formally recognize it or provide any legal support system.
“It’s getting out that Vietnam is a more friendly place,” the director of a homosexual advocacy group called Utopia Asia told the Bangkok Post. “Gays in Vietnam are certainly becoming more open. It has not ruffled any feathers as it might in some other countries in Southeast Asia. It will have a positive effect on tourism.”
“[The law] indicates to everyone that Vietnam is opening up more and welcomes everyone,” said the owner of Gay Hanoi Tours. “Vietnam is changing very quickly. There are bigger gay communities and gay events.”
One apparent venue of “gay events” just so happens to be the American Club in Hanoi.
Vietnam lifting the ban stands in stark contrast to other socially conservative countries in Southeast Asia, including Singapore, which recently reaffirmed its ban on homosexual behavior in 2014 and reiterated that any attempts to lift the ban must be made by legislators, not judicial activists.