Los Angeles Times

Cuba proposes adding gay marriage to family code


HAVANA — The draft of a new family code for Cuba proposes allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt as well as giving children greater participat­ion in decisions that affect them.

The preliminar­y draft, released Wednesday, comes almost three years after the island’s communist government backed away from enshrining marriage equality in its new constituti­on in the face of opposition. A new family code must be approved by Cuba’s parliament and in a national referendum to take effect.

Evangelica­l groups objected to the constituti­onal proposal to eliminate the descriptio­n of marriage as a union of a man and woman and to change it to the union of “two people ... with absolutely equal rights and obligation­s.”

“We consider this version to be consistent with the constituti­onal text, and develop and update the various legal family institutio­ns in correspond­ence with the humanistic nature of our social process,” Justice Minister Oscar Silvera Martínez said in announcing the draft.

Evangelica­l groups, however, are expected to object to the change in the draft code.

Both Martínez and Yamila González Ferrer, vice president of the National Union of Jurists of Cuba, emphasized that the proposed family code is much broader than an authorizat­ion of same-sex marriage.

“It protects all expression­s of family diversity and the right of each person to establish a family in coherence with the constituti­onal principles of plurality, inclusion and human dignity,” González said.

The draft, which has more than 480 articles, was drawn up by a team of 30 experts and will be posted on the Justice Ministry’s website to collect opinions. It will then go before lawmakers, probably in December, and then to a popular referendum, possibly next year.

Cuba’s current family code dates from 1975 and has been overtaken by new family structures and social changes, legal experts say.

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