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by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
Posted: March 27, 2008 – 5:00 pm ET
(Havana) Cuban lawmakers will vote in June on a bill that would make
the country one of the world’s most progressive in LGBT civil rights.
The draft legislation would make it illegal to discriminate in jobs
and housing against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transpeople. It
would recognize same-sex domestic partnerships, although not grant
marriage or adoption rights, and it would allow transsexuals to have
identity cards showing their true sex. In addition the bill would
require the government health service to pay for sex reassignment
The measure has been championed by Mariela Castro, the daughter of
Cuban president Raul Castro. She heads the government-funded National
Centre for Sex Education and has been a longtime LGBT rights advocate.
Mariela Castro said she would have liked to have had the bill include
marriage but she and LGBT leaders believed it would be met with
opposition and could jeopardize the bill.
‘A lot of homosexual couples asked me to not risk delaying getting the
law passed by insisting on the word marriage,’ she told the BBC.
‘In Cuba marriage is not as important as the family and at least this
way we can guarantee the personal and inheritance rights of
homosexuals and transsexuals.’
Last month Cuba’s Culture Minister Abel Prieto said that he supports
Gays have had a long struggle for recognition in Cuba
There are no gay clubs in Havana, although one bar does offer a weekly
Prior to the Castro revolution gays were regularly rounded up and
jailed. Even after the revolution many gays were sent to forced labor
camps for ‘re-education and rehabilitation.’
The camps were abandoned in a few years but gays often were denied
jobs and in the 1980s, there were government orchestrated mass rallies