New Cuban Constitution Draft Creates Legal Groundwork for Gay Marriage

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The new constitution draft defines “marriage” as a union of two individuals, as opposed to a man and a woman.

The draft of Cuba's new constitution may turn the former communist country into one of the most LGBQT-friendly nations in the region, as the draft defined matrimony as a union between "two individuals" rather than "between man and a woman," effectively legalizing same-sex marriage.

The same-sex marriage is arguably the hottest constitutional debate on Cuba these days, reads a report by Reuters.

"The possibility of marriage between two people strengthens our project's principles of equality and justice," secretary of the council of state, Homero Acosta, told lawmakers on Saturday.

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However, Acosta noted that further legal changes would be needed to make gay marriage completely legal.

The change to the constitution comes amid a trend in Latin America, as same-sex marriages have been legalized Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay and some parts of Mexico in recent years, despite opposition from religious leaders.

Following Fidel Castro's revolution in 1959, Cuba sent its homosexuals to correctional labor camps, as homophobia has been institutionalized in the state as a policy. In 2010, Fidel Castro apologized for the persecution of gays, saying the policy was "a great injustice."

In recent decade, Cuba has steadily become more gay-friendly, allowing sex change operations and fighting against workplace discrimination. According to Reuters, the change has largely been made possible by advocacy of Castro's niece Mariela Castro. However, the state never recognized same-sex marriage, as it would have required a massive overhaul of the legislation.

Local LGBTQ activists do not let their guard down, however, as they are inclined to keep protesting until the constitutional draft becomes law, and then until gay marriage is clearly and openly recognized.

"We will continue in the streets until the final process of the constitutional reform," said Diaz Torres. "And after the constitutional modification has been approved, we must ensure that same sex marriage is approved."

Popular campaigns both in favor and against legalization of same-sex marriage have made the issue the most debated constitutional change in Cuba, Reuters reads.

Five of Cuba's evangelical denominations made a joint statement in June declaring marriage can only be "exclusively the union of a man and a woman, according to the Bible."

​The two movements have plastered neighborhoods in posters advocating for both traditional and LGBTQ familieS. The Christian posters, featuring a traditional family with two children, read "I am in favor of the original design — the family as God created it," while LGBTQ responded with very similar posters reading "I am in favor of Cuban design — a very original family," and depicting a variety of family designs, including same-sex ones.

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