The Catholic Bishops of Cuba expressed this Monday their discrepancies with the new Family Code, and appealed to “the conscience and responsibility of all Cubans” in the referendum on the regulation, which will be held on September 25.
In a message published this Monday regarding the upcoming vote on the Code, addressed to the faithful of the Catholic Church and to all those interested in knowing their criteria on the subject, the Cuban Bishops highlighted positive aspects of the law, such as the rejection of violence in the family, and the protection of the elderly, children, the disabled and the vulnerable, but at the same time expressed their rejection of a group of issues contained in the legislation, approved in July by the National Assembly.
They are especially opposed to the introduction in the Code of “the contents of the so-called ‘gender ideology,’” which, in their opinion, “supports many of the proposals,” as well as the principle of “progressive autonomy,” which they do not consider “the most beneficial for children and adolescents.”
Similarly, they confirmed their opposition to minors “being legally adopted by same-sex couples,” as well as to “multiparenting, the application of assisted human reproduction techniques to same-sex couples or even in vitro postmortem fertilization,” since, they affirmed, “it is a child’s right to have a father and a mother.”
They affirmed that “it is not ethical for the so-called ‘solidarity gestation’ to be recognized as appropriate, in which a woman who carries a child in her womb for nine months must hand it over immediately after childbirth to other people” and they pointed out that “marriage between a man and a woman, which is the natural basis of the family, cannot be displaced or deformed to make way for other legally constructed ways.”
The Bishops said they see “with disappointment” that “these and other proposals that were notoriously questioned by society, remain intact in the Code that is now presented for referendum” and questioned the official campaign in favor of the text, for which, they pointed out, “all the means of communication to which we Cubans have access have been used.”
“For the vote to be such, it is necessary to have a plurality of information that allows citizens to make their own decision,” said the high representatives of the Cuban Catholic Church, for whom “information, flowing in one direction, without other counterweights, operates as a conditioning factor, and the vote derived from it will express, necessarily and inevitably, a conditioned will.”
In their message, they appealed to “the conscience and responsibility of all Cubans, believers or not,” and called on their compatriots to “take into account, when voting, what their conscience, their faith, their convictions and principles dictate, thinking not only of current generations, but also of future ones, and of the spiritual and material well-being of all Cubans.”
In addition, they recalled that in the event of the winning of the “No” option, promoted by the opponents of the regulation, “that would not mean the impossibility of continuing to work on a new Code,” which, in their opinion, could maintain “all aspects positive that this law contains,” but at the same time “adapt” the institutions that it described as “controversial to the sentiment of the majority of the people and to moral principles.”
The Family Code is the only legislation that will be submitted to a referendum among the 70 updated after the entry into force in 2019 of the new Constitution. For the voting, which will take place on Sunday, September 25, more than 21,000 polling stations will be set up on the island.
The result of the vote will be released five days later, it will be binding and will require a simple majority: more than 50%, either for or against.
The regulation has been a source of controversy among its supporters — including progressive sectors, academics and the LGTBIQ+ community — and detractors — including churches and religious and conservative groups. Both the government and President Miguel Díaz-Canel himself support the legislation and promote the positive vote in the referendum.
The Code, whose version 25 is the one that will be put to a referendum, went through a wide consultation between February and April of this year in which 6.4 million people participated, according to official figures, and, if approved, will replace the legislation in force since 1975.