The Council of State of Cuba appointed those in charge of drawing up the draft of the new Family Code, long-awaited legislation that provides for the inclusion of same-sex marriage and which will be submitted to a referendum.
The members of the commission that will prepare the proposal for presentation to the Cuban Legislature are deputies, representatives of government and social organizations, specialists and professors expert in the field, the National Assembly of People’s Power reported on Tuesday.
The legislative schedule stipulates that the first draft of the Family Code would be presented in March of this year, to then begin the process of convoking the referendum that will decide its approval.
#Cuba | En cumplimiento del Cronograma Legislativo, el Consejo de Estado aprobó la propuesta de integrantes de la Comisión que presentará el anteproyecto del Código de las Familias a la @AsambleaCuba, de conformidad con la Disposición Transitoria Decimoprimera de la Constitución. pic.twitter.com/ocIfuBGrxu
— Asamblea Nacional Cuba (@AsambleaCuba) March 23, 2021
The possible approval of same-sex marriage in Cuba came to the fore in 2018 during the constitutional reform process that culminated in the promulgation of a new Magna Carta in 2019. The old one, in force since 1976, defined marriage as the union “between a man and a woman,” and in the initial draft of the new Constitution, it was proposed to change those terms to “union between two persons with legal capacity to do so,” which de facto opened the doors to same-sex marriage.
The issue provoked heated discussions in the debates of the draft Constitution and confronted groups opposed to LGTBI activism and the faithful of various religious denominations, especially from the Catholic and Evangelical churches, which have an increasing presence on the island.
Finally, the Constitutional Reform Commission—headed by the former president and leader of the Communist Party of Cuba, Raúl Castro—chose to exclude a precise definition of marriage from the new Magna Carta and postponed the debate until the Family Code was updated. This shift sought to ensure majority support for the new Constitution, but caused discomfort among defenders of LGTBI rights, who saw one of the main demands of this community postponed.
In addition, the new Family Code will be the only one that will go to a referendum among the 70 legal norms updated with the new Magna Carta. Cuban deputies will modify and approve 39 laws and 31 decree-laws in a schedule that runs until 2022.
Another of the most demanded issues in recent years by independent civil society groups, the animal welfare policy, became a reality last February with a new decree-law.