Cuban plans to legalize same-sex marriage

Reports indicate that the Cuban Parliament will seek approval of legislation legalizing same-sex in July of next year. So reported Dr. Alberto Roque, speaking on behalf of Cuba’s National Center for Sexual Education ( CENESEX) during a lecture at the XXV International Conference ILGA in Sao Paulo (Brazil). He was participating in a panel on public policy and sexual diversity with members of the Ministry of Health of Brazil, Germany and Cuba.

Roque spoke about the advancement of LGBT rights in Cuba during the last decade, as opposed “to is believed by the collective imagination.” This progress comes from the implementation of an Education Strategy for Self-Respect Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, led by CENESEX (which is headed by Mariela Castro Espín, daughter of Cuban leader Raúl Castro) and other institutions. He cited the work of the Cuban Conference Against Homophobia during the last three years, the creation of networks for lesbian health throughout the country, and the reinstatement of sex-change operations and support for transgendered individuals.

Roque said that in the legislative framework, discussion by the Cuban parliament of its new Family Code, which recognizes same-sex domestic partnerships and respect for transgendered people is pending the start of the new session. Despite resistance from some policymakers, it is reported that this debate is scheduled to go on in July 2011.

Finally, the activist said that after the Cuban vote in favor of the amendment that eliminated sexual orientation from the items listed in the resolution condemning extrajudicial killings, the Cuban authorities regretted being the only Latin American country taking this position, noting that it thus joined countries that legally condemn homosexuality.

In an unprecedented move, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla met with LGBT representatives to explain that this vote had not meant a change in policy on these issues but had responded to important matters at stake in Cuba’s solidarity with some African nations. As a result, activists succeeded in pushing for an official statement from Cuba’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations where the Cuban Government expresses its rejection of extrajudicial killings, including those committed on the grounds of sexual orientation.

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