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Members of the LGBT community carry a giant pride flag during the parade marking the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, in Pinar Del Rio, Cuba, May 17, 2018.
Desmond Boylan/AP

Same-Sex Marriage May Be on the Horizon in Cuba

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Discriminatory cultural attitudes toward sexuality and same-sex marriage hold the world’s population back. As long as such inequitable norms persist, the world will not succeed in establishing equality for all and achieving the Global Goals. You can join us in supporting these issues and more here.

Cuba is on the path toward becoming the latest Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage.

A new version of the country’s constitution, called the Magna Carta, was approved by the National Assembly revising the legal definition of marriage as “the consensual union of two people, regardless of gender,” reports the Guardian. The change will be put to referendum later this year.

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“In socialism no type of discrimination between human beings exists,” said National Assembly deputy and author of Biography of a Runaway Slave Miguel Barnet in an interview with the Miami Herald. “I am in favor of Article 68 of the new constitution. Love has no sex.”

Others throughout the Cuban LGBTQ community echoed that sentiment.

“This is marvelous,” said Pablo Navarro, 70, in an interview with the Guardian. Navarro spent two years cutting sugar cane in a correctional camp in the 1960s because of his sexuality. “I feel proud that the new generation can enjoy this achievement even though we couldn’t.”

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Legislators voted unanimously for the new constitution, according to the Guardian report, replacing the current constitution’s definition of marriage as the “voluntary union between a man and woman.” The new version does not address whether same-sex couples may adopt children, but some experts have posited that it will now be possible.

The new constitution marks a tidal change for the country, as Cuba has a long history as a homophobic nation, noted the Miami Herald.

To wit, there has been some pushback to Article 68 from religious groups: Five evangelical groups issued a statement stating that marriage is “exclusively the union of a man and a woman, according to the Bible,” adding that gender ideology “has no relationship at all with Communist countries.”

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But Mariela Castro Espín, daughter of Cuban leader Raúl Castro and a deputy in Cuba’s National Assembly, disagreed with that assertion in her advocacy of the new changes.

“Love of neighbor is the essence” of the same-sex-marriage proposal, she told the Miami Herald. “It will put Cuba among the vanguard countries, in the recognition and guarantee of human rights.”