Cuban lawmakers have released a new draft of the country’s family code which, if approved, would legalize same-sex marriage and adoption rights on the Caribbean island nation.
The new draft broadens the definition of marriage, which is currently defined as a union between a man and a woman, to that of any union between two consenting adults.
“We consider this version to be consistent with the constitutional text, and develop and update the various legal-family institutions in correspondence with the humanistic nature of our social process,” Justice Minister Oscar Silveira Martinez said in a statement reported by the Associated Press (AP).
While the draft opens the door for marriage equality, it must still undergo a multi-step vetting process before it can become law. The AP reports that the bill will soon be posted on the Justice Ministry’s website in order to garner public opinion. It will then go for a vote before the country’s National Assembly, and finally to a public referendum, which could take place as early as next year.
Cuba had previously considered a similar change in 2018, when lawmakers first proposed amending the family code to legalize same-sex marriage. However, the revision was withdrawn after opposition from conservative groups, who will likely challenge this latest version as well.
If the amendment is approved, Cuba would join the ranks of other Latin American countries, including Costa Rica and Colombia, that have legalized same-sex marriage.
“The blueprint for the family code is everything one could have hoped for,” said Maykey Gonzalez Vivero, the director of the digital LGBTQ+ magazine, Tremenda Nota, in a statement reported by Reuters. “It took a long time and there was no transparency in its interminable process of nearly 15 years. But it’s here.”