Although same-sex relations for both men and women are not illegal, same-sex couples and households are not eligible for the same legal protections as heterosexual couples, while it was only in 2010 that a major state-owned media network confirmed for the first time that homosexuality is normal.
Male to male relationships: Legal
Punishments for male to male relationships: No law
Female to female relationships: Legal
Age of consent: Equal for heterosexuals and homosexuals
More on the Vietnamese law at ilga.org
Legal incidents and social climate
In May 2012, a gay couple in Ha Tien held a traditional, public wedding at their home but were stopped by local authorities. The event was reported widely on Vietnamese media and started a heated debate on the issue.
One month later, the country's minister of Justice announced that the government has started a consultation on whether to legalize same-sex marriage, stating that "in order to protect individual freedoms, same-sex marriage should be allowed.". The subject will be debated at the National Assembly congress in spring 2013. If approved, Vietnam will become the first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage.
ISEE have cooperated with CARE and Oxfam, and received funding from Sida and NORAD.
There are generally a big LGBT community in Vietnam and in recent years the LGBT community has received more attention. For example The Australian Government will in 2012 provide $100,000 funding for a project to raise public awareness on the rights of LGBT people in Vietnam.
The project to be overseen by the Hanoi-based Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment (iSEE) will include activities such as plays and exhibitions looking at the experiences of the country’s LGBT population as well as legal assistance for people who are discriminated because of their sexuality or gender identity.