As we launch into a new lunar year, the Huffington Post today carries an overview of gains and setbacks LGBT citizens are both celebrating and suffering around the world:
While gay-rights activists celebrate gains in much of the world, their setbacks have been equally far-flung, and often sweeping in scope.
Russia’s anti-gay speech law is noted, of course, as are the new laws in Nigeria sending citizens to prison if they organize or promote a LGBT organization and in Uganda imposing life in prison for gay sex. These laws are all being advanced with the argument that “traditional cultural values” trump universal human rights values when it comes to LGBT citizens. The Article 19 organization (named after the freedom of speech article in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) recently analyzed these violations of the UDHR. Read the Article 19 report: Anti-LGBTLaws
Asia, the Huffington Post article points out, “is a mixed bag when it comes to gay issues, due to vast differences in culture, religion and history.” No Asian nation allows gay marriage, but Thailand’s
government is now sponsoring a campaign to attract gay tourists, and China, Vietnam and Taiwan are also making strides in accepting gays and lesbians.
Vietnam, in particular, decided last November to drop its rules fining same-sex weddings, although it did not legalize them, an important step in at least saying no one would be fined for having a ceremony performed. Maybe even more importantly, Vietnam recognized the right of same sex couples to live together and sign household registration books — which under Vietnamese family law then imposes obligations on all family members to support one another.
On the other hand, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Pakistan and, recently, India still outlaw same sex, a remnant of the British colonial penal codes.
For more about the change in the Vietnam Marriage and Family Law:
Read a fuller interview about Vietnam’s family law change with Le Quang Binh of Vietnam’s Institute for Studies of Society, Economics and Environment.