Same-Sex Marriage in Cuba Legalized

A majority of voters approved the legalization of same-sex marriage in Cuba in a referendum

Same-sex marriage and adoption have become legal in Cuba. A majority of voters approved the legalization of same-sex marriage at a referendum two days prior, cementing Cuba as the 34th country in the world to allow same-sex couples to marry.

Some believe this to be the most progressive family code on the planet, also supporting legal and equal family protections. More information on Cuba’s new family code can be found here.

Plans to legalize same-sex marriage were announced in May 2019. Before that, in December 2017, LGBT groups launched public campaigns to repeal the ban. A draft constitution that defined marriage as a “union between two people” was announced in July 2018 by Secretary of the Council of State, Homero Acosta Álvarez.

As it happens in many countries where same-sex marriage isn’t yet legal (and in many where it already is), public debates arose when the draft was subject to public consultation in November 2018. Christian denominations called same-sex marriage “contrary to the spirit of the Communist revolution,” and conservative opposition was rampant throughout the years.

As a first, a pastor from the Metropolitan Community Church in Matanzas officiated at the marriage ceremony of a gay couple in 2019. It’s believed that this was the first church wedding for a same-sex couple in Cuba, despite same-sex marriage lacking recognition at the time. 

same-sex marriage in Cuba legalized
@ Reuters

During the same year, an Apretaste opinion survey showed that 63.1% of Cubans favored legalizing same-sex marriage, with 36.9% being opposed. This contrasts with the public antipathy towards LGBT people that marked the 80s in Cuba, although these attitudes eased with the following decades.

In particular, educational campaigns on LGBT issues were implemented by the National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX), headed by Mariela Castro, daughter of Raúl Castro.

President Miguel Díaz-Canel announced his support for same-sex marriage in his first interview since taking office in April. He stated on television that he supports marriage between people without restrictions.

On September 2021, the government proclaimed that the new Family Code would be brought to the National Assembly for approval and put to popular vote if approved in the referendum. Subsequently, the referendum was approved in April 2022.

Following the 2022 Cuban Family Code referendum, Cuba is considered the most progressive country in Latin America regarding LGBT policies.

Cuba is the first independent nation in the Caribbean to do so and the eighth country in Latin America. Most surprisingly, it’s the first Communist state to legalize same-sex marriage. Cuba has also become the first Latin American country to mark LGBT History Month.