Cuban lawmakers on Tuesday approved a draft of a new family code that could pave the way for marriage rights for same-sex couples in the country.
Cubadebate, an official news website, reported the National Assembly approved the draft that does not contain a specific marriage equality provision. The proposal, however, states it would “protect all expressions of family diversity and each person’s right to build a family in coherence with the (Cuban) constitution and its principles of equity, non-discrimination and human dignity.”
Mariela Castro, the daughter of former President Raúl Castro who is the director of the National Center for Sexual Education, is among the members of the National Assembly who spoke in favor of the draft.
“It will guarantee the rights of groups of people whose realities were not sufficiently understood at the beginning of the revolutionary process,” said Mariela Castro before the vote, according to Cubadebate.
Mariela Castro in her comments referred to the Cuban revolution that brought her uncle, Fidel Castro, to power in 1959.
The Cuban government after the revolution sent gay men and others to work camps known by the Spanish acronym UMAPs. Cubans with AIDS were forcibly quarantined in state-run sanitaria until 1993.
“This bill does resemble the society in which we live: A complex, diverse and plural society,” said Mariela Castro.
Cubadebate reported Cubans will have a chance to comment on the bill during a “popular consultation” that will take place from Feb. 1-April 30, 2022.
Cuban voters in 2019 overwhelmingly approved the draft of their country’s new constitution, but independent LGBTQ activists sharply criticized the government’s decision to remove a marriage equality amendment before the referendum on it. Tremenda Nota, the Washington Blade’s media partner in Cuba, reported the government has not announced when a referendum on the new family code will take place.
Tuesday’s vote took place less than six months after anti-government protests took place across Cuba.
Tremenda Nota Editor Maykel González Vivero is among the hundreds of people who were arrested during the protests.
Yoan de la Cruz, who is gay, used Facebook Live to livestream the first July 11 protest that took place in San Antonio de los Baños in Artemisa province.
Authorities subsequently arrested De La Cruz, and they are seeking an 8-year prison sentence for him. De La Cruz’s trial reportedly began on Dec. 13.
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