I was only 11 when Fidel ousted fascist dictator and American puppet— also Mafia puppet— Fulgencio Batista. My grandfather used the revolution against the corrupt Cuban regime to help me knock the U.S. off the pedestal on which our teachers placed it. I idolized the Cuban Revolution right through my teens… until the gay thing happened… or until the U.S. media brought the gay thing to light.
Like other Latin American countries— and like the U.S. at the time— pre-Revolutionary Cuba was very homophobic and gay men and lesbians were harassed by the American puppet regime. The Revolution certainly didn’t make life any better for the LGBTQ community which was considered decadent (as was all American underground culture) of the 1960s. The Cuban LGBTQ community had a really bad 3 decades until things started opening up a little in the ‘80s and a little more in the ‘90s, although sex between two people of the same gender was legalized in 1979, at least on paper. By 1988 the police were told that gays were no longer to be harassed and even Fidel lightened up; and in his autobiography he was critical of the machismo culture and urged acceptance homosexuality. In a 2019 referendum, Article 36 of the Cuban Constitution, defining marriage as between a man and a woman, was repealed.
Roland loves Cuba and has been there 3 or 4 times. I have refused to go with him because I don’t like supporting homophobic societies with my tourist dollars. Well, next time I can go with him. Over the weekend two-thirds (66.9%) of Cubans voted to approve a sweeping “family law” code that will allow same-sex couples to marry and adopt in a national referendum. Cuba did what it should have done in 1959— passed the most progressive LGBTQ legislation of any Latin American country. The toxic and growing right-wing evangelical movement accounted for the opposition. There was “an extensive government campaign in favor of the measure, including thousands of informative meetings across the country and extensive media coverage backing it.”
On Monday, [President Miguel Díaz-Canel] celebrated approval of the measure, tweeting “Love is now the law.”
Passage “is to pay a debt to various generation of Cubans whose domestic plans had been waiting years for this law,” he added. “As of today, we will be a better nation.”
The measure had been approved by Cuba’s Parliament, the National Assembly, after years of debate about such reforms.
A major supporter of the measure was Mariela Castro, director of the National Center for Sex Education, a promoter of rights for same-sex couples, daughter of former President Raul Castro and niece of his brother Fidel.
But there is a strong strain of social conservatism in Cuba and several religious leaders have expressed concern or opposition to the law, worrying it could weaken nuclear families.
While Cuba was officially— and often militantly— atheist for decades after the 1959 revolution led by Fidel Castro— Raul’s brother— it has become more tolerant of religions over the past quarter century. That has meant a greater opening not only the once-dominant Roman Catholic Church, but also to Afro-Cuban religions, protestants and Muslims.
Some of those churches took advantage of the opening in 2018 and 2019 to campaign against another plebiscite which would have rewritten the constitution in a way to allow gay marriage.
Opposition was strong enough that the government at that time backed away.
Cuba is the 33rd country to legalize marriage equality, the others being Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile (since December), Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands (first in the world), New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia (since July), South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, the UK, the U.S.— by court order— and Uruguay. With the next year, Japan, India, Thailand, the Philippines and the Czech Republic will probably legalize same sex marriage. Going in the other direction: Italy, Saudi Arabia, Poland, Iran, Hungary, Serbia, Russia…