On Sunday, Cubans took to the polls to “vote” for a new constitution. However, the new document didn’t include a provision that opened the door for same-sex marriage legalization by defining marriage as “a consensual union between two people.”
The provision was outlined in a draft unanimously approved by the country’s lawmakers but was quickly removed after conservatives, including the island’s Catholic Church and growing evangelical movement, spoke out against the provision. The government’s decision to remove theprovision was a major blow to gay rights activists. It suggests the most conservative sector of theCuban elite continue to have leverage over the government.
But marriage equality is not completely off the table in Cuba. While the new constitution doesn’t define marriage as “a consensual union between two people,” marriage is now defined as “a social and legal institution” and “one form of family organization.” While same-sex marriage is not explicitly permitted, it is technically no longer prohibited.
The new constitution received 86.8 percent of votes in favor, nine percent against, and theremaining 4.1 percent either left their ballots blank or cast null votes. According to Alina Balseiro Gutierrez, president of Cuba’s National Electoral Commission, 84.4 percent of the 8.7 million potential voters participated in Sunday’s referendum.