Cubans Monday voted to legalize same-sex marriage in a historic national referendum. Government officials announced that more than 3.9 million voters, or 66.9 percent, voted in favor of a new Family Code, and 1.95 million voters, 33 percent, opposed the ratification.
The new code legalizes same-sex marriage and will allow same-sex couples to adopt. The legislation contains other provisions to broaden the rights of grandparents and children, allow for surrogacy and prenuptial agreements, promote equal sharing of domestic responsibilities, and establish measures for tackling gender-based violence. Following the vote, President Miguel Díaz-Canel, who has been vocal in supporting same-sex marriage, said, “justice has been done. To approve the [code] is to do justice. It is paying off a debt with several generations of Cuban men and women, whose family projects have been waiting for this Law for years. Starting today, we will be a better nation.”
Previous attempts to legalize same-sex marriage in Cuba have been unsuccessful. In December 2018, following significant opposition, the government removed an amendment that would have extended marriage rights to same-sex couples from the draft of a new constitution. The new constitution was approved in a 2019 referendum and used neutral language when describing marriage “as a social and legal institution.” This provision did not explicitly legalize same-sex marriage but also did not ban the union.