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Setback for Marriage Equality in Cuba

CUBA LGBT

A broad swath of the public rejected changing the Constitution to allow same-sex couples to wed.

Cuban leaders backed away from a plan to enshrine marriage equality in the constitution following right-wing protests. Instead, any mention of marriage in the document could be removed.

The island nation's constitution today defines marriage as between a man and a woman, but equality advocates had proposed an amendment to the constitution to define it as between "two people... with absolutely equal rights and obligations," according to The Guardian.

But evangelical groups protested the change in public meetings when it was included in the nation's draft constitution. Government leaders say a majority of more than 192,000 comments received about the amendment opposed the change.

"The draft constitution will not define which parties enter into a marriage," said Homero Acosta, Council of State secretary, through state media, as reported by France 24. "So that is now out of constitutional reform discussions overall."

Cuban officials say the measure was dropped out of respect to broad public opinion.

Out blogger Francisco Rodriguez, who runs Paquito el de Cuba, wrote that while dropping marriage equality from the draft constitution will feel like a setback, the compromise of no longer defining marriage in the constitution should be viewed as incremental progress.

"The next Constitution will definitely not say in a restrictive and discriminatory way that marriage is the union between a man and a woman like the current Magna Carta, and this is already a huge step forward," he wrote. "A triumph that nobody can take away from us or diminish, with great symbolic and practical significance. An open door to that future egalitarian marriage that we want to achieve."

Cuba is undergoing major reforms to its government rapidly. The new draft constitution, known as the Magna Carta, will be taken up by Cuba's national assembly on Friday, and assuming it passes that body, the constitution will go to a public referendum on Feb. 24.

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