Cubans head to polls to vote on govt-sponsored code to legalize homosexual marriage, adoption By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A billboard which reads “For the Cuban Households, your vote counts!” referring to a household code referendum to happen on September 25, is displayed in Havana, Cuba, September 19, 2022. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini

HAVANA (Reuters) – Cubans headed to the polls on Sunday to vote on a package deal of measures that will upend the island’s long-held “machista” tradition and legalize homosexual marriage even because the nation wrestles with a deepening financial disaster.

If authorized, the 100-page “household code” would put Cuba on the vanguard of progressive social coverage in Latin America, legalizing same-sex marriage and civil unions, permitting same-sex {couples} to undertake youngsters, and selling equal sharing of home rights and tasks between women and men.

President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who walked together with his spouse to vote only a few blocks from their dwelling within the Havana suburb of Siboney, instructed reporters the code abolishes prejudices and taboos which have been ingrained in Cuban society.

“My expectation is that a lot of the inhabitants will vote ‘sure’,” Diaz-Canel mentioned. “However no matter whether or not ‘sure’ or ‘no’ wins … the favored debate that has been generated has contributed to our society.”

The code, which has undergone 25 drafts, practically 80,000 townhall-style conferences and 300,000 strategies from the general public, is predicted to attract hundreds of thousands of Cubans to the polls. The measure requires greater than 50% of votes forged on Sunday to change into legislation.

Most prior poll initiatives in Cuba have been overwhelmingly authorized, however an financial disaster that has led to lengthy strains for meals, drugs and gasoline has raised the potential of a protest vote towards the federal government.

“We now have to get used to the truth that on such advanced points, the place there’s a variety of standards … there could also be individuals who vote to punish (the federal government),” mentioned Diaz-Canel. “That can be legit.”

Sunday’s vote would be the first of its form since cell web was legalized in 2018, which has let dissenting views unfold extra extensively.

There aren’t any impartial, outdoors observers of Cuban elections, nonetheless, residents might observe the depend at their precincts instantly following the vote.

The federal government flooded TV and radio in latest weeks with spots celebrating variety and inclusion to advertise the code.

“This code makes everybody equal,” mentioned Jose Antonio Fernandez, a 73-year-old retired Havana resident who voted in favor of the measure on Sunday morning.

Some social conservatives – together with the Roman Catholic Church and evangelicals, see issues otherwise, objecting to points together with homosexual marriage and complaining that authorities management of the media has drowned out opposing views.

Havana resident Lisandra Samon, 36, mentioned she voted on Sunday however thought it was arduous to foretell the end result.

“The vote can be shut … points of this code have divided the opinions of the general public, even households,” she mentioned.

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