Posted: Jul 28, 2012 11:02 PM
Updated: Jul 28, 2012 11:03 PM
HANOI, Vietnam (AP) Vietnam is considering whether to allow same-sex couples to marry or legally register and receive rights, positioning it to become the first country in Asia to do so.
The Justice Ministry's proposal to include same-sex couples in the country's marriage law has surprised gay-rights activists. No one knows whether it will survive long enough to be debated before the National Assembly next year, but supporters say the fact that it's even being considered is a victory in a region where simply being gay can result in jail sentences or whippings with a rattan cane.
The ministry says the courts do not know how to handle disputes between same-sex couples living together. The new law could provide rights for owning property, inheriting and adopting children.