Cuba votes for same-sex marriage in rare referendum

In a referendum, the people of Cuba voted for a significant number of progressive gay rights, including marriage rights. 66.9% of voters support the new law.
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Voting is rare in communist Cuba, but Cubans were allowed to voice their opinion in a referendum on gay rights. Parliament had already approved the law, including opening up marriage to same-sex couples, but the government also presented the proposal to the people. 

66.9% of Cubans support the law, despite criticism from religious organisations. The law also grants same-sex couples adoption rights in addition to marriage rights.

Little can be said about the reliability of the results, as no independent observers were present. Yet the fact that a third of the population voted against the law is strikingly high for the communist country.

The progressive steps Cuba is now taking are a big change from the time of Fidel Castro. Under his leadership, homosexuals were sent to labour camps. In present-day Cuba, it is his niece Mariela Castro who fights for LGBT+ rights.

President Miguel Diaz-Canel is also an advocate of equal rights for homosexuals and calls the result of the referendum "justice".

"It pays off a debt owed to several generations of Cuban men and women, who and their families have been waiting for this law for years," he says.

Human Rights Watch nevertheless criticizes the referendum. According to the organization, human rights should not be acquired through a referendum, but this is a task for politicians.

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