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Cuba’s lawmakers may legalize same-sex civil unions this year

Wednesday, January 18, 2012
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HAVANA, Cuba — Cuba’s first daughter, Mariela Castro-Espín, on Sunday said the country’s lawmakers will consider legalizing same-sex civil unions this year.

Castro-Espín, daughter of President Raul Castro, who is also the director of the National Sex Education Centre told the magazine Cuba Si that the Cuban Justice Minister, Maria Esther, said civil unions is going to be discussed “in Parliament [and] is included in the legislative plan for 2012.”

Castro-Espín added:

“I believe that the Party Conference may help to define a policy explicitly prohibiting discrimination on sexual orientation and gender identity and, in turn, help to dismantle the prejudices that hinder its adoption. The purpose of these proposals corresponds to the need to recognize and protect the rights of our (LGBTQ) population.”

Cuba’s ruling Party will gather on January 28 for its first legislative conference in 2012 where the legislative measure for reform will be put to a vote.

Castro-Espín made these comments when she asked about the draft bill that seeks to modify the Cuban Family Code to legalize same-sex unions.

She also wrote in her blog that Cuba must facilitate “cultural changes” in its society to achieve “full justice” for LGBTQ people through educational, social programs.

Castro-Espín, a sexologist, is famous in the island nation for her stance on full legal equality for LGBTQ people.
Gay pride parades are now happening regularly across the island and the government recently started a national anti-homophobia campaign.

In 2008, the Cuban government provides free sex-change operations for transgender people by ministerial decree.

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