Cuba Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

Cuba Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

by Kenna McCafferty

In a monumental national referendum, Cuba has voted to legalize same-sex marriage.

Nearly two-thirds of the population voted to approve the reform of the Cuban Family Code, which now allows for surrogate pregnancies and gay couples to adopt children. The code, which contains more than 400 articles, also included permissions for the marriage of same-sex couples.

More than 3.9 million voters vote to ratify the code, a landmark show of support for a country with a legacy of persecution against its gay citizens historically sent to labor camps throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s. The code was still met with dissent by many, with 1.95 million voting in opposition to its ratification.

The reforms were supported by government campaigns, informative meetings across the country and extensive media coverage, but were nonetheless met with strong resistance from the country’s growing evangelical population. The rise is almost unprecedented in the country, where “scientific atheism” was once the norm and political dissent was largely unheard of.

Much of Cuba’s infrastructure has been making way for the new since the state’s new constitution was approved by voters in February 2019, sparking hope for the country’s LGBTQ+ population.

A man casts his vote at a polling station during the new Family Code referendum in Havana.

The sweeping Family Code goes beyond the country’s gay community, also including measures protecting the elderly and placing safeguards against gender violence.

“Most of our people will vote in favor of the code,” said President Miguel Diaz-Canel, a major proponent of the law. “But it still has issues that our society as a whole does not understand.”

Sunday’s vote on the Family Code was also history-making as the first of its kind since the legalization of mobile internet in December 2018. Protests of last summer signaled growing dissatisfaction with the Communist party’s rule of Cuba.

Photos via Getty