Cubans vote for gay rights

Amendments to the Family Code will allow same-sex marriage, same-sex adoptions and surrogacy

Nearly four million Cubans voted in favor of government-backed amendments to the island’s Family Code in a popular referendum, authorities in Havana announced on Monday. Preliminary results show that more than 66% of the votes cast favored the proposal to legalize same-sex unions, surrogacy and adoption of children by homosexuals, among others.

Voter turnout in Sunday’s referendum was 74% of Cuba’s electorate, estimated at 6.25 million. According to National Electoral Council of Cuba, the preliminary results showed 66.87% of the votes for, with 33.13% against.

Of the 5,892,705 ballots cast, 3,936,790 were YES, while the NO option got 1,950,090 votes, NEC President Alina Balseiro said. Although the results are preliminary and some constituencies still count, the result was « irreversible, » she added.

« I think Cuba has grown » President Miguel Díaz-Canel told Granma, the official newspaper of the Cuban Communist Party. Changes to the code were necessary, he said, because Cuba has diversified and legal issues have arisen. « in the life stories told these days, recorded in research and in situations discussed in court. »

« Love is now the law! » the official record of the Cuban presidency tweeted Monday morning, celebrating the passage of the 100-page law.

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Diaz Canel too « regrets that for reasons of conviction some citizens still do not understand that the law respects the type of family they defend and also protects the rights of other forms of love. »

Many Christians and social conservatives opposed the amendments. While the island’s communist government once criminalized homosexuality, late revolutionary leader Fidel Castro’s niece, Mariela, took the initiative to defend LGBT rights.

Havana almost proposed to legalize same-sex unions in 2018, but abandoned it to ensure the passage of a new constitution. This time, the government went all-in, urging Cubans to vote in favor of the new code, because it « protects all people without exception, favoring respect for human dignity », by Grandma.

Castro overthrew the US-backed government in 1959 and ruled until 2008 when he retired in favor of his brother Raul, Mariela’s father. While the country is officially secular, it ceased to be atheist in 1992. About 60% of the island’s population identify as Christian, most of them Catholics followed by a growing number of Evangelicals .


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