Cuba has decided to remove the concept of marriage from its draft Constitution after public anger against a gender-neutral description that was seen as promoting gay marriage. The National Assembly said the commission drafting the Constitution had made the decision to be silent on the matter “as a way of respecting all opinions”, AP reported. The matter will now be addressed through the family code instead.
A draft released in July had described marriage as a union of “two people...with absolutely equal rights and obligations” after LGBT rights advocates had asked for the definition involving “man and woman” to be eliminated. This led to protests by evangelical churches and some citizens during public meetings to discuss the draft.
The National Assembly will vote on the draft this week, after which it will go for a referendum in February 2019. The evangelical churches had threatened to reject the entire draft over the definition of marriage, Reuters reported.
Francisco Rodriguez, a Communist Party member and gay blogger, called the decision an “acceptable compromise”. “This was a side step,” he said. “It’s a solution. Not ‘between a man and a woman’ or ‘between two people.’ Now is when it all begins.” He said LGBT rights activists could now focus on campaigning for changes in the law to allow same-sex marriage.
Former President Raul Castro heads the panel set up to write a new Constitution to replace the 1976 version. His daughter Mariela Castro is a prominent LGBT rights advocate in the country.