Recognition of same-sex unions in Cuba
Cuba does not recognize same-sex marriage, civil unions, or any other form of same-sex unions. The Cuban Constitution prohibited same-sex marriage until 2019, and since March 2019, the Government launched public consultations on the new Family Code, which would address same-sex marriage.
De facto unions
A civil union law was first proposed in 2007, though was never brought up for a vote. It was announced that new legislation was going to be presented in September 2009, with a bill offering all the rights of marriage in Cuba as "de facto unions" (Spanish: unión de hecho). The bill was reportedly before the country's Parliament and promoted by Mariela Castro, director of the Cuban Sexual Education Center and daughter of former President and current First Secretary of the Communist Party, Raúl Castro. If the bill had been approved, it would have made Cuba the first Caribbean state to recognize same-sex unions. It would also have been the first communist country to pass any form of recognition of same-sex couples.
Attempts to change the Constitution
Until 2019, Article 36 of the Constitution of Cuba defined marriage as "the voluntarily established union between a man and a woman". Under Article 2 of the Family Code, marriage is restricted to the voluntary union of a man and a woman.
In December 2017, LGBT groups launched a campaign to amend the Cuban Constitution to include same-sex marriage. On 4 May 2018, Mariela Castro stated that she would propose an amendment to the Constitution and accompanying measure to legalize same-sex marriage, as the process of constitutional reform was expected to begin in July 2018.
On 21 July, Secretary of the Council of State Homero Acosta said that the draft Constitution included a provision defining marriage as a union between two people. Changes to statutory laws would be necessary to make same-sex marriage legal. The National Assembly approved the draft on 22 July. It was subject to public consultation between 13 August and 15 November.
The issue of same-sex marriage resulted in rare public debates and organising in Cuba. In June 2018, five Christian denominations declared same-sex marriage "contrary to the spirit of Communist Revolution". In what has been described as "a war of posters", both opponents and supporters of same-sex marriage have displayed hundreds of posters around Havana, the Cuban capital.
In September 2018, following conservative opposition to the proposal to legalise same-sex marriage in Cuba, President Miguel Díaz-Canel announced his support for same-sex marriage in his first interview since taking office in April, telling TV Telesur that he supports "marriage between people without any restrictions", and is in favor of "eliminating any type of discrimination in society". He was the first Cuban President to publicly express support for same-sex marriage.
On 18 December, the constitutional commission removed the definition of marriage from the draft, meaning that the new Constitution would not regulate this issue at all. Nonetheless, it would still repeal the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. The National Assembly and Mariela Castro have stated that same-sex marriage would instead be legalised through a change to the Family Code, which is expected to happen after February 2019. Writing in the Havana Times, commentator and human rights activist Luis Rondón Paz argued that the Cuban state never intended to legalize same-sex marriage, and was instead seeking to deflect attention from other domestic issues and promote itself internationally as a progressive state.
Marriage is a social and legal institution. It is one form of family organization. It is based on free will and equality of rights, obligations and legal capacity of the spouses. The law decides how it is constituted and its effects.[a]
Changes to the Family Code
In early March 2019, shortly after the constitutional referendum, the Government launched public consultations on the new Family Code, which would address same-sex marriage.
- In Spanish: El matrimonio es una institución social y jurídica. Es una de las formas de organización de las familias. Se funda en el libre consentimiento y en la igualdad de derechos, obligaciones y capacidad legal de los cónyuges. La ley determina la forma en que se constituye y sus efectos.
- Mohideen-Znet, Reihana (9 August 2009). "Socialist feminist revival". Venezuela Analysis. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
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- Article 36, Constitution of the Republic of Cuba, 1992
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