Cuba Abandons Inclusive Same-Sex Marriage Language In New Constitution

Despite progress earlier this year, it has been reported that this reform will not be launched as expected.

Cuba flag flown of a building on a street in Havana

Lawmakers in Cuba have said that a provision which would have opened the door to the legalisation of same-sex marriage will no longer be included in the draft of a new constitution.

Earlier this year, it was announced that the Cuban people will be asked to vote on whether to redefine marriage as ‘the consensual union of two people, regardless of gender’, following a decision by the country’s parliament to accept draft changes to the country’s constitution.

The final version of the proposed constitution will be put to the public with a referendum being held in 2019.

Not The End For Marriage Equality In Cuba

Despite this latest development, same-sex marriage is not off the table, lawmakers say.

Secretary of the Council of State, Homero Acosta said the concept of marriage had been modified to represent the future of Cuba.

“We are not the first, nor would we be (in) the vanguard in this matter because there are around 24 countries that have this concept incorporated; we could not turn our back on this issue when preparing a new constitutional project,” Acosta told lawmakers last summer, according to Granma.

Government officials have said they plan on holding a separate referendum on same-sex marriage within the next two years.

The introduction of same-sex marriage in Cuba would be a landmark change for Cuba. President Miguel Diaz-Canel is the first post-Castro president and has backed same-sex marriage saying the change “responds to the problem of eliminating all types of discrimination in society”.

Former President Raul Castro’s daughter, Mariela Castro Espin, has been a pioneer for marriage equality in Cuba.

Cuba Photo of Mariela Castro
Mariela Castro, LGBT+ rights activist and daughter of Raul Castro

She said in a statement posted to Facebook today:

“Unfortunately the message tweeted by our legislative body mutilated the new proposal and with an inappropriate approach launched into the arena what many people are interpreting as a setback. With all the responsibility I must clarify it: the new formula sustains the essence of the previously proposed article (68) since it erases the binarism of gender and heteronormativity with which marriage was defined in the 1976 Constitution.

“The variation in the new proposal lies in the substitution of “persons” by “spouses”, an issue that maintains the possibility that all people can access the marriage institution. In addition, it places as a novel element the unions of fact, without tying them to any genre; This figure, in the long run, and according to statistics, is the most used in our society.

“There is no setback, the essence of Article 68 is maintained, the struggle continues, now let’s give the YES to the Constitution and then close ranks to achieve a Family Code as advanced as the new constitutional text. Cuba is ours, Cuba belongs to everyone.”

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