Cubans approved in a referendum with 66.87% of votes the Family Code, which legalizes same-sex marriage, gay adoption and surrogacy, placing the island at the forefront of Latin America in this matter
The legislation, which will replace the current legislation of 1975, was the subject of an intense media and social media campaign by the government in favor of its approval. “The Yes won. Justice has been done,” President Miguel Díaz-Canel said on his Twitter account on Monday.
“Approving the #CódigoDeLasFamilias is doing justice. 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. Starting today, we will be a better nation,” added the president.
According to the National Electoral Council (CEN), 6,251,786 voters exercised their right to vote, equivalent to 74.01% of the voter registry. Of the total of 5,891,705 valid votes, 3,936,790 were for yes (66.87%) and 1,950,090 for no (33.13%).
Despite the result in favor of the code, the participation was less large than that registered to approve the new Constitution in 2019, when it reached 90.15%. And it is the highest percentage of votes against that the Cuban government has received.
“We have to get used to the fact that on such complex issues, where there is a diversity of criteria,” in the country “there may also be (…) a punishment vote,” the president admitted on Sunday after voting.
For his part, the Cuban political scientist Rafael Hernández considered that “the Code is an effective step in the direction of social justice” and estimated that it is the “most important piece of legislation in terms of human rights” since the beginning of the revolution.
It is a legal rectification of the marginalization suffered by homosexuals that was followed on the island as a state policy in the 1960s and 1970s, and whose discrimination was prohibited by the 2019 Constitution. “And in the end we won!! #Cuba has a Family Code. The path of enforcing it begins,” Maykel González, an activist and defender of homosexual rights, said on Twitter.
“Ratified by the People”
The preliminary results offered this Monday indicated that there is an “irreversible trend.” This with 66% of the votes counted so far in favor of the new legislation, CEN president Alina Balseiro said on state television.
“The Family Code has been ratified by the people,” he said. The legislation needed more than 50% support to be validated. Balseiro pointed out that 36 constituencies remain to be closed, mainly in the east of the country, due to the rains and bad weather due to the proximity of Hurricane Ian.
“We are a better country”
The new Cuban Family Code defines marriage as the union “between two people”, opening the door to homosexual marriage and adoption for same-sex couples. It also allows legal recognition of several fathers and mothers, in addition to the biological ones, as well as surrogacy, non-profit, while adding other rights that favor children, the elderly and the disabled.
“Our people opted for a revolutionary, uplifting law that drives us to achieve the social justice for which we work every day. Today we are a better country, with more rights,” Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez said on his Twitter account.
This is the first time that a law other than the Constitution is submitted to a referendum in Cuba. The main opponents of the vote focused on the Christian churches, both Catholic and Protestant.
The Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba criticized this month the so-called “gender ideology”, which supports many precepts contained in the new legislation. Among them gay marriage, assisted pregnancy and the possibility that minors can start a clinical process to change their sex.