In a landmark vote, Cuban citizens have come out in favor of marriage and adoption by same-sex couples.
The family law that was approved by 66.9% of eligible voters, over 3.9 million people, would also seek to redefine rights for children and grandparents. Initial results from the electoral commission stated that 8.4 million people i.e. 74% of Cubans who were eligible to vote took part in Sunday’s referendum.
The 100-page document doesn’t just legalize gay marriages and civil unions, it also allows same-sex couples to adopt children, and advocates equal domestic rights and responsibilities between men and women.
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel put out a triumphant message on Twitter ushering in this progressive new law, “Love is now the law. It is paying off a debt with several generations of Cuban men and women, whose family projects have been waiting for this law for years. As of today, we will be a better nation.”
The new code also allows for surrogate pregnancies, ensures more rights for elderly, women and children, and also has provisions in place against gender violence. This reform is quite historic in a country like Cuba where gay people have been frequently persecuted in the 1960s and 1970s and even after homosexuality was legalized in 1979, the community still faced discrimination.
At the moment, despite the Cuban Government’s support, the new law is not supported by evangelical churches and non-religious conservatives.
Observers note that even as one of the few communist countries in the world, Cuba has empowered its citizens to vote in favor of people’s right to choose their partners.
Laos, by contrast, recently ruled against participation by trans contestants in beauty pageants both in the country and abroad, a move that was highly unpopular in the capital city of Vientiane.