Draft of Cuba’s new family code opens door for gay marriage

International News

FILE – In this May 9, 2015 file photo, a couple of Cuba’s LGBT community kiss after receiving a blessing from Rev. Roger LaRade, of the Eucharistic Catholic Church in Canada, in Havana, Cuba. Cuba made public on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, a draft of the Family Code that allows for same sex marriage, their right to adoption, recognizes the rights of grandparents and gives children greater participation in decisions that concern them, among other developments. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan, File)

HAVANA, Cuba (AP) — The draft of a new family code for Cuba released Wednesday proposes allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt as well as giving children greater participation in decisions that affect them.

The preliminary draft, which must be approved by Cuba’s parliament then go to a grassroots plebiscite, comes almost three years after the island’s communist government backed away from enshrining gay marriage protections in its new constitution in the face of opposition.

Evangelical groups objected to the constitutional proposal to eliminate the description of marriage as a union of a man and woman, and change it to the union of “two people … with absolutely equal rights and obligations.”

“We consider this version to be consistent with the constitutional text, and develop and update the various legal-family institutions in correspondence with the humanistic nature of our social process,” Justice Minister Óscar Silveira Martínez said in announcing the draft.

Evangelical groups, however, are expected to object to the change in the family code draft.

Both Martínez and Yamila González Ferrer, vice president of the National Union of Jurists of Cuba, emphasized that the proposed family code is much broader than an authorization of same-sex marriage.

“It protects all expressions of family diversity and the right of each person to establish a family in coherence with the constitutional principles of plurality, inclusion, and human dignity,” González said.

The draft, which has more than 480 articles, was drawn up by a team of 30 experts and will be posted on the Justice Ministry’s website to collect opinions. It will then go to lawmakers — likely in December — then to a popular referendum possibly next year.

Cuba’s current family code dates from 1975 and has been overtaken by new family structures and social changes, legal experts say.

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