Cuba to hold momentous referendum on same-sex marriage

The Cuban national assembly voted to hold a referendum on the constitution's 'Family Code' later this year.

Cuba has announced that it is to hold a referendum on same-sex marriage. The photograph shows a person in a pink dress waving a miniature Pride flag over their shoulder with the other hand holding a giant Cuban flag. In the background a crowd of other people are also holding the Cuban flag.
Image: @promuzi via Twitter

Cuba has announced that it is to hold a landmark ‘Family Code’ referendum which will include same-sex marriage and parental rights.

The referendum, which is scheduled to take place on September 25, was announced by the country’s national assembly last Friday following a lengthy round of public consultations which were conducted between February and April. 

The consultations showed that approximately 62% of Cuban citizens are in favour of updating the constitution to provide for more inclusive legislation.

Tweeting the news of the assembly’s vote in favour of holding the referendum, Miguel Díaz-Canel, President of Cuba said “The deputies have just approved the #CódigoDeLasFamilias.”

Showing his support for a yes vote he continued “They do well to call it ‘Code of affections’ because it has developed something really new: affection as a legal value.”

The country’s Justice Minister Oscar Silvera Martínez declared the assembly’s vote on Friday as “a historic day”, tweeting “It is the result of a lot of work and, especially, the contribution of our people.” 

Also placing his support firmly behind a yes vote, he concluded “Now in a referendum let’s vote YES for an inclusive and protective Code.”

Despite the strong political support and the positive results from the public consultation process, the new legislation still faces staunch opposition from religious groups, who were successful in overturning a similar referendum in 2019. 

According to a report in the Gay Times, during the public consultations, Catholic bishops maintained that “the majority of Cubans wanted the definition of marriage to be maintained as the union of a man and a woman, as it appears in the current Family Code of 1975.”

As well as improving the lives of same-sex couples and their families, the proposed changes to the legislation would also see greater protections being provided for children as well as guaranteeing improved rights for women.

If the referendum passes on September 25, Cuba would become only the eighth country in South America to legalise same-sex marriage, joining Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia, Ecuador and Costa Rica.

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