Cuba legalizes same-sex marriage and adoption after the Cuban referendum

People in Cuba voted for the new family code referendum on Sunday to establish the legalization of same-sex marriage, adoption and much more.

  • Cubans voted in a landmark referendum on Sunday
  • This referendum legalizes same-sex marriages and adoption in the country
  • Amidst the current economic unrest in Cuba this vote may prove to be insignificant

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Cuba legalizes same-sex marriage and adoption after the Cuban referendum

Cubans voted in a landmark referendum on Sunday, 25th September to decide whether to legalize same-sex marriage and adoption, allow surrogate pregnancies and give better rights to non-biological parents. Almost 6 million Cubans (around 69% of eligible voters) voted in the referendum, according to electoral officials. Over 8 million Cubans over the age of 16 were eligible to vote "yes" or "no" for the proposal, which is supported by the communist government but criticized by Catholic and evangelical church leaders, reported DW News.

More than 79,000 neighbourhood meetings were held earlier this year to debate the proposal, which is backed by the communist government. Church leaders have expressed opposition to the idea. The final week of campaigning saw the government flood TV, radio and social media with pro-equality messages, along with glitzy billboards, public rallies and tweets from President Miguel Diaz-Canel urging Cubans to vote yes "in favour of democracy" as reported.


The official attitude toward homosexuality has changed significantly over the past 20 years after decades of persecution. In 2019, the government sought to include same-sex marriage in the country's new constitution but backed down after criticism from the Church. The Conference of Bishops has once again come out against the current proposal. 

Political scientist Rafael Hernandez said the referendum on same-sex marriage is the "most important human rights legislation" in Cuba since the 1959 revolution. However, the current economic unrest may overshadow Cuba's historic vote. 

Cuba is facing its worst economic crisis in 30 years due to a collapse in international tourism and ongoing US sanctions.

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