Cubans will vote in a referendum that opens doors to gay marriage

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The National Assembly of Cuba approved this Friday a radical update of a family law that opens doors to same-sex marriage, advances women’s rights and increases the protection of children and the elderlyamong other topics.

The new Family Code, which has faced criticism from several churches in Cubawill be put to a referendum on September 25 after being debated for months at community meetings earlier this year, where organizers said 62% of participants expressed support.

That is a small percentage by Cuban standards, where the newly approved Constitution won with 86% of the vote and previous referendums generally passed with about 95%.

“It is a Code that defines the many times mentioned but exalting vValues ​​of love, affection, care, sensitivity, respect for others and the harmony of our families”, said the Minister of Justice, Oscar Manuel Silvera, when presenting the text to the deputies to the National Assembly.

Pastor Henry Nurse, of the Marianao Methodist Church in Havana, disagreed with the text, expressing the views of most traditional religions with the exception of Afro-Cubans, they have not yet taken a position.

“It’s sad what’s been going on because it’s going to bring confrontation,” Nurse told Reuters. “It goes against what has been taught for many generations of years in the world about the true traditional marriage between a man and a woman”.

The new text would legalize the same-sex marriage and civil unionswould allow same-sex couples to adopt children, double women’s rights, and promote equal distribution of domestic responsibilities.

parents would have “responsibility” instead of “custody” of the children, and they would be obliged to be “respectful of the dignity and physical and mental integrity of children and adolescents.”

Cuban women, who head almost 50% of households and make up 60% of professionals in the Caribbean country, they have free access to abortion and enjoy months of maternity leave.

Ría Acosta Cruz and Gabriela Alfonso, a couple in Havana who have lived together for years, said it was their human right to marry and adopt children.

“The opportunity that it gives us (the Code) is that of marriage. The fact of being able to opt together for certain things and certain legal procedures that we need as a couple and not as independent people,” said Alfonso.

Acosta, for his part, added: “We are a married couple, a family. We have the plans together, the economy together (…). It is not fair that this possibility does not exist,” he stated.

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