The government of Cuba announced Tuesday that the proposed constitutional Article 68, which would open the door for same-sex marriage in the island nation, has been removed from the latest draft of a new constitution.
Instinct previously reported that President Miguel Díaz-Canel has publicly supported legalizing marriage equality.
Cuba’s National Assembly announced the news in a series of tweets:
And it’s more obvious here, where secretary of National Assembly proposes to defer the concept of marriage as a way to respect all opinions. The law will define the rest of the elements. #nogaymarriage #Cuba https://t.co/3jz7wbNGfp
— Hatzel Vela (@HatzelVelaWPLG) December 18, 2018
According to Emmy Award winning South Florida journalist Hatzel Vela, translated from Spanish the tweet read, "The [Constitutional] Commission proposes to defer the concept of marriage, meaning it will be taken out of the constitutional project, as a way to respect all opinions. Marriage is a social and jurisdictional institution. The law will define the rest of its elements."
Another tweet said, "The Family Code should establish who can engage in marriage." The Family code is scheduled to be updated shortly after the confirmation of the new constitution.
The first draft of the new constitution was made public in July.
For months now, LGBTQ activists had worked towards eliminating the description of marriage as a union of a man and woman. Instead, the language would have been changed to the union of "two people with absolutely equal rights and obligations."
But, as the public debate continued, evangelical church leaders led protests at meetings on the new constitution.
Vela pointed to another National Assembly tweet that said, “Article 68 was the one most discussed by the people in the popular consultation, in 66 percent of the meetings (of citizen debate).”
The final version of the new constitution is scheduled to be voted on by the National Assembly later this week in advance of a public referendum on February 24.
Former President Raul Castro’s daughter, Mariela Castro Espin, who has led to charge to legalize same-sex marriage, took to Facebook to say “there is no setback” and that the tweet from the National Assembly wasn’t accurate.
“There is no setback, the essence of Article 68 is maintained, the struggle continues, now let’s give the YES to the Constitution and then close ranks to achieve a Family Code as advanced as the new constitutional text,” she wrote according to Gay Star News. “Cuba is ours, Cuba belongs to everyone.”
However, The Washington Blade reports that several of the Cuban journalists and LGBT activists they communicate with on regular basis say “they face harassment and even arrest if they publicly criticize Mariela Castro and/or the Cuban government.”