Recognition of same-sex unions in Cuba

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Legal status of same-sex unions
  1. Performed in 14 states and Mexico City, and recognized by all states in such cases
  2. Performed in the Netherlands proper, and possibly[citation needed] recognized by Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten in such cases.
  3. Neither performed nor recognized in Niue, Tokelau or the Cook Islands
  4. Neither performed nor recognized in Northern Ireland, the dependency of Sark or in 5 of the 14 British Overseas Territories (Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and the Turks and Caicos Islands)
  5. Neither performed nor recognized in American Samoa or some tribal jurisdictions
  6. Theoretical: no actual cases known
  7. Limited to residency rights for foreign spouses of citizens (EU) or of legal residents (China)
  8. Registration open in all counties except Hualien, Penghu, Taitung and Yunlin

* Not yet in effect, but automatic deadline set by judicial body for same-sex marriage to become legal

LGBT portal

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[edit]

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).[1] 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.[2][3][4] 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.

As of 2019, the legislation has stalled in Parliament. Mariela Castro has said that the legislation has the support of her father and that she was building a consensus in order to approve it.[5]

Same-sex marriage[edit]

Homosexuality laws in Central America and the Caribbean Islands.
  Same-sex marriage
  Other type of partnership
  Unregistered cohabitation
  Foreign same-sex marriages recognized
  No recognition of same-sex couples
  Constitution limits marriage to opposite-sex couples
  Same-sex sexual activity illegal but not enforced
  Same-sex sexual activity illegal only for males
  Same-sex sexual activity illegal for males and females

Attempts to change the Constitution[edit]

Until 2019, Article 36 of the Constitution of Cuba defined marriage as "the voluntarily established union between a man and a woman".[6] Under Article 2 of the Family Code, marriage is restricted to the voluntary union of a man and a woman.[7]

In December 2017, LGBT groups launched a campaign to amend the Cuban Constitution to include same-sex marriage.[8] 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.[9][10]

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.[11][12] The National Assembly approved the draft on 22 July. It was subject to public consultation between 13 August and 15 November.[13][14][15][16][17][18]

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".[19] 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.[20]

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.[21][22]

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.[23][24] 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.[25]

The new Constitution was approved in a referendum on 24 February 2019, and took effect on 10 April 2019.[26][27] Article 82 reads as follows:

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[edit]

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.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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.[28]


  1. ^ Mohideen-Znet, Reihana (9 August 2009). "Socialist feminist revival". Venezuela Analysis. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  2. ^ "Mariela Castro: Cuba 'Ready' for Gay Unions". Havana Times. 11 December 2012. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  3. ^ "Raul Castro's daughter: Cuba eyes same-sex unions". Boston Globe. 17 January 2012. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  4. ^ "Mariela Castro says Cuba to consider civil unions for gays". Archived from the original on 2012-01-21. Retrieved 2012-01-20.
  5. ^ Trotta, Daniel (10 May 2014). "Cubans celebrate gay rights, but marriage remains distant". Reuters. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  6. ^ Article 36, Constitution of the Republic of Cuba, 1992
  7. ^ Alpízar Pérez, Evelio J.; Cobas Cobiella, María E.; Rodríguez Acosta, Mercedes (2001). "Legal and Ethical Aspects of HIV/AIDS in Cuba". MEDICC Review. First presented at the 4th International Conference on HIV/AIDS in Cuba, Central America and the Caribbean, Havana, Cuba, January 2000
  8. ^ "Homosexuales cubanos luchan por insertar el matrimonio gay en la Constitución de la Isla". (in Spanish). 13 December 2017. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  9. ^ "Raul Castro's lawmaker daughter wants to make same-sex marriage legal in Cuba". Edmonton Journal. 4 May 2018. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  10. ^ "Hija de Castro impulsa el matrimonio gay en Cuba". La Razon (in Spanish). 4 May 2018. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  11. ^ Marsh, Sarah (21 July 2018). "Cuba's draft constitution opens path to gay marriage". Reuters. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  12. ^ "Cuba's new constitution would allow same-sex marriages". Digital Journal. 21 July 2018. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  13. ^ "Cuba's National Assembly concludes debate on constitutional reforms". Agencia EFE. 22 July 2018. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  14. ^ "Cuban legislature adopts new constitution". Inquirer News. 23 July 2018. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  15. ^ Frank, Marc (23 July 2018). "Cuba economic growth weak, president says, as lawmakers approve new constitution". Reuters. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  16. ^ Augustin, Ed (23 July 2018). "Cuba's new constitution paves way for same-sex marriage". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  17. ^ "Referendo de nueva constitución será el 24 de febrero". Rebelión (in Spanish). 11 August 2018. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  18. ^ "A new dawn for Cuba? The draft constitution explained". Al Jazeera English. 17 November 2018.
  19. ^ Lotto Persio, Sofia (24 July 2018). "Evangelical churches in Cuba display anti-gay marriage posters against reform". PinkNews. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  20. ^ "La "guerra de carteles" por el matrimonio igualitario en Cuba". (in Spanish). 22 July 2018. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  21. ^ Anapol, Avery (17 September 2018). "New Cuban president says he supports same-sex marriage". The Hill.
  22. ^ Mitchell, Charlotte (18 September 2018). "Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel backs same-sex marriage". Al Jazeera.
  23. ^ Vela, Hatzel (18 December 2018). "Cuba eliminates gay marriage language from new constitution". Archived from the original on 19 December 2018. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  24. ^ Weissenstein, Michael; Rodriguez, Andrea (18 December 2018). "Cuba eliminates gay marriage language from new constitution". Yahoo!. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 19 December 2018. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  25. ^ Rondon Paz, Luis (23 December 2018). "Same-Sex Marriage Will Never Be in Cuba's Constitution". Havana Times.
  26. ^ "Cuba Proclaimed Its New Constitution". Prensa Latina. 10 April 2019.
  27. ^ Frank, Marc; Acosta, Nelson (25 February 2019). "Cubans overwhelmingly ratify new socialist constitution". Reuters. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  28. ^ (in Spanish) Constitución de la República de Cuba
  29. ^ "El Gobierno de Cuba someterá a consulta popular el nuevo Código de Familia". CiberCuba (in Spanish). 8 March 2019.