In a new Cuban referendum, nearly four million voters (66.9%) chose to ratify a new code that allows for same-sex marriage and surrogacy. This is a big step for the republic, which had previously ruled against these protections and options for same-sex couples. The new referendum has also increased rights for women, and promotes equality in the domestic rights and responsibilities of both women and men.
Cuba is changing, but economic circumstances in the country are still difficult for many of its residents. Up until this referendum, that economic difficulty was coupled with additional struggles for same-sex couples who wanted to marry or have children together. It was very difficult for anyone but heterosexual couples to have children, or even adopt them. Additionally, the traditional roles for men and women in relationships were making it more complicated for couples who didn’t follow gender norms.
Despite the change, though, just under 75% of eligible voters chose to vote on the referendum, and the 33% of voters who said no to the changes is actually fairly high. Most of the time, the overwhelming majority of voters go along with what the government wants. This time, there was a significant level of dissent. That doesn’t matter to the same-sex couples who want to get married and have children, though, because the law is now on their side.
The referendum’s passage was announced as Cuba prepared for Hurricane Ian, and a lot of the opinions surrounding the new law may have gotten lost in the shuffle of hurricane preparations and weather reports.
The hurricane has moved on, and now the people of Cuba will be doing the same as they navigate some new ways they can build families and have the legal protections and security they were denied in the past. President Miguel Diaz-Canal was behind the push for change, saying that justice has now been done and men and women who have been waiting for this law can now be made whole.
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