The Cuban government has published a draft of a new Family Code that would allow same-sex couples to marry, adopt children, and would recognize surrogacy.
The current Cuban law from 1975 defines marriage as a “voluntary union between a man and a woman.” The proposal filed this week would change that language to read “between two persons.” It would also recognize surrogacy for couples that struggle with fertility, and for same-sex couples.
Justice Minister Oscar Manuel Silvera Martínez said Wednesday the commission in charge of drafting the legislation would consider public comments before sending a final version to the National Assembly in December. The draft proposal, which has nearly 500 articles, will be published on the Justice Ministry website for public feedback, according to the AP.
Maykel Vivero, an activist and founder of the LGBTIQ+ magazine Tremenda Nota, told the Miami Herald that the new proposal goes much further than he had expected, far beyond recognizing the marriage of same-sex couples.
“There are a lot of options for families, and some are frankly revolutionary, surprising,” Vivero said. “Many countries do not have these issues resolved.”
Leonardo Pérez Gallardo, a law professor at the University of Havana, said the proposal “shatters paradigms.”
“It embraces, recognizes and protects families whatever their form of organization, and therefore gives them equal treatment,” Pérez Gallardo told the Herald.
While LGBTQ+ activists are cautiously excited about the breadth of the proposal, they say the bill will likely face an uphill battle amid pushback from religious groups.
In 2018, Cuban authorities removed similar language from the draft for a new constitution, after heavy criticism from the Catholic church and other religious organizations.
Vivero said he’s hopeful the new code will be approved without any hiccups, but he acknowledges that it has “many enemies” among conservative groups and within the Cuban government.
“Families are much more diverse than what the [current] law acknowledges,” Vivero added.