Cuba approves same-sex marriage in unusual referendum


Cuba's President Miguel Diaz Canel speaks to the press after casting his vote at a polling station during the new Family Code referendum in Havana, Cuba, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. The draft of the new Family Code, which has more than 480 articles, was drawn up by a team of 30 experts, and it is expected to replace the current one that dates from 1975 and has been overtaken by new family structures and social changes. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)


Cubans have approved a sweeping “family law” code that will allow same-sex couples to marry and adopt as well as redefining rights for children and grandparents, officials said Monday, though opposition in the national referendum was unusually strong on the Communist Party-governed island.


The measure — which contains more than 400 articles — was approved by 66.9% to 33.1%, the president of the National Electoral Council, Alina Balseiro Gutiérrez, told official news media, though returns from a few places remained to be counted.


The reforms had met unusually strong open resistance from the growing evangelical movement in Cuba — and many other Cubans — despite an extensive government campaign in favor of the measure, including thousands of informative meetings across the country and extensive media coverage backing it.


Cuban elections — in which no party other than the Communist is allowed — routinely produce victory margins of more than 90% — as did a referendum on a major constitutional reform in 2019.


The code allows surrogate pregnancies, broader rights for grandparents in regard to grandchildren, protection of the elderly and measures against gender violence.


President Miguel Díaz-Canel, who has promoted the law acknowledged questions about the measure as he voted on Sunday.


“Most of our people will vote in favor of the code, but it still has issues that our society as a whole does not understand,” he said.