Cuba: Why the Inclusion in Cuba’s Constitution of Same-Sex Marriage Failed

By Alejandro Langape

HAVANA TIMES – No, I’m not going to talk about the reasons why the Mambises didn’t win the first of our independence struggles. I just want to point out some arguments for why heated Article 68 in the new Constitutional Draft, which opened a door for same-sex marriage, soon became luke-warm Article 82 which defines marriage as a social and legal institution and a way to organize families.

It’s worth remembering that Article 68 sparked the most debate in neighborhood meetings to discuss the draft Constitution before the final draft was approved by the National Assembly to be put to referendum on February 24. And, it’s also worth pointing out the fact that it was written in mumbo jumbo.

On the one hand, the definition of marriage as the voluntary union agreed between two people seemed completely refreshing, which seemingly reflected a shift in mindsets that would put Cuban society on the same level as Spain or Argentina. However, it was hard for a good number of Cubans to accept this and they immediately voiced their disagreement with passing a Constitution they found too transgressive in this aspect.

Yet, the rest of the article was the complete opposite, considering marriage to be the first implicit step towards making a home and a family. A mix of modernity and conventionalism which blew up because churches rejected it outright (especially the Evangelical churches), whose doors were plastered with posters that preached “Family like God created it”, showing the idyllic image of a mother and father walking with their children (a classic of advertisements in the ‘50s and ‘60s) and the prevalence of exclusive heteronormative behaviors. 

Not even President Diaz-Canel’s support, expressed in an interview on TeleSur, or CENESEX, led by Mariela Castro Espin, could counterattack this rejection, and faced with the threat of a large NO vote in the constitutional referendum, they took a step back.

But, something else became clear (at least in my eyes), as well as the National Assembly’s ambivalent position who had given the article a green light months beforehand: the fact that Cuban society wasn’t prepared enough to accept this proposal. Read more via Havana Times