In a long overdue move, the government of Cuba is seeking to change many elements of its constitution, one article of which currently declares marriage to be between a man and a woman.
The proposed new Constitution, drafted by a special commission within Cuba’s National Assembly, was unveiled in July. If the National Assembly and President Miguel Díaz-Canel approve the document after a Feb. 24, 2019 public referendum, marriage would be defined as a “union between two people.”
Beyond legalizing gay marriage, the new Constitution would protect private property, limit the presidential term to five years and introduce the role of prime minister.
Intense debate has surrounded the possibility of marriage equality in Cuba, and not just within the government’s official public meetings. Cubans are also discussing and debating gay marriage with neighbors and friends, in the streets and online – a departure from Cuba’s traditionally more top-down style of government.
But opposition to this change is coming from, you guessed it, religious groups, who have seen a resurgence in recent days.
The Assembly of God Pentecostal Church, the Evangelical League and the Methodist Church of Cuba, among other Christian churches, have issued a joint statement opposing gay marriage.
According to the Cuban magazine La Jiribilla, preachers on the streets have been handing out fliers saying gay marriage defies God’s “original design” for the family.
Gay marriage is not the only battlefield for Cuba’s newly empowered churches.
Abortion, illegal in most of Latin America, has been a woman’s right in Cuba since 1965. Traditionally, not even Cuba’s Catholic church publicly opposed it.
Recently, though, Christians in Cuba have begun publicly advocating against abortion.
I doubt that the Cuban government is going to let the Christian groups dictate to them on these issues.