Cuba caves to backlash & removes marriage equality from constitution

A group of people carrying a Cuban flag

Rev. Roger LaRade, of the Eucharistic Catholic Church in Canada, blesses a gay couple as they lean in to kiss each other in Havana, Cuba, Saturday, May 9, 2015. Desmond Boylan, AP

Support for marriage equality has been removed from the draft constitution that Cuba is considering after a massive backlash.

Earlier this year, the National Assembly in Cuba approved a version of the constitution that defined marriage as “the consensual union of two people, regardless of gender.” The line in Article 68 was hailed as “marvelous” by LGBTQ advocates.

But the sentence also drew ire from straight people. State media said that 192,408 comments were left on that article, almost all of them asking for the definition of marriage to be removed.

Evangelical churches also organized protests of the language at public meetings about the new constitution.

Related: Cuba may legalize marriage equality. That doesn’t mean it’s a gay paradise.

The National Assembly’s Twitter account said that the change was intended to “respect all opinions.”

A gay blogger that The Guardian talked to, Francisco Rodriguez, praised the change because at least the constitution doesn’t directly say that same-sex couples cannot marry, leaving open the possibility of fighting for marriage equality.

“This was a side step,” he said. “It’s a solution. Not ‘between a man and a woman’ or ‘between two people.’ Now is when it all begins.”

Article 40’s ban on discrimination based several factors, including sexual orientation and gender identity, remains in the proposed constitution.

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