Cuba’s Assembly Opens Door to Same-Sex Marriage and Other Family Rights | LGBTQ News

The new family code to be voted on in September would legalize same-sex marriage and allow same-sex couples to adopt.

Cuba’s National Assembly on Friday approved a sweeping update to its Family Law that opens the door to allowing same-sex marriage, greater rights for women and greater protections for children, the elderly and other family members.

The new family code will go to a referendum vote on September 25 after being debated at community meetings earlier this year, where organizers said 62% of attendees expressed support.

This is relatively low by Cuban standards, where the recently adopted new constitution was approved with 86% of the vote. Policy proposals in previous referenda have received around 95% support.

The code promotes “love, affection, care, sensitivity, respect for others and harmony in our families,” Justice Minister Oscar Manuel Silvera said, presenting the code for the vote in the National Assembly.

Opponents of the rule change include many churches.

“What happened is sad because it will lead to a confrontation,” said Methodist pastor Henry Nurse.

“It goes against what has been taught for many generations around the world about true traditional marriage between a man and a woman,” he said.

The new code would legalize same-sex marriage and civil unions, allow same-sex couples to adopt children, and promote equal sharing of household responsibilities. It will also allow prenuptial agreements and surrogate pregnancies, but not for profit.

Parents would have ‘responsibility’ instead of ‘custody’ of children, and would be required to be ‘respectful of the dignity and physical and mental integrity of children and adolescents’.

Cuba is already a regional leader in women’s rights. Women head almost 50% of households and represent 60% of professionals, have free access to abortion and can claim up to two years of maternity leave.

A Havana couple who have lived together for many years but were never able to have children, Rita Acosta Cruz and Gabriela Alfonso, said it was their human right to marry and adopt children.

“The opportunity she gives us is that of marriage. Being able to opt together for certain things and certain legal procedures that we need as a couple and not as independent people,” Alfonso said.

Acosta said it met their expectations as a family.

“We are a marriage. We have the plans together, the economy together. It is not fair that this possibility does not exist,” she said.

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