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For the Cuban government, homosexual marriage is now ‘social justice’

gay marriage It is an act of “social justice”assures in an interview with Efe the deputy director of the state-run National Center for Sex Education (Cenesex) of Cuba, Manuel Vázquez.

This jurist and activist for the rights of the LGBTIQ+ community thus defends the inclusion of same-sex marriage in the Family Code, an important legislative reform not without controversy and now submitted for three months to a popular consultation process.

This government project, which also addresses gender violence, child marriage and surrogacy (“solidarity”, in this text), is an official attempt to modernize the regulations on affective, sexual and family relationships, since the current one is from 1975.

If finally approved, the standard would be a watershed for a country and a government with a past marked by homophobia.

Manuel Vásquez, deputy director of the state-run National Center for Sex Education (Cenesex) of Cub. Photo EFE

In Vázquez’s opinion, it is “social justice” to expand, reformulate and redesign marriage as a legal institution to “democratize” its access, since until now it was restricted to heterosexual people.

The official bet is one of those that provokes the most debate within the Family Code, since has run into opposition of the Catholic Church and various social sectors since it was raised for the first time four years ago.

The LGBTIQ+ activist claims that this discussion is “necessary, urgent and urgent for Cuban society”and it should be a priority on the political agenda of a socialist state like Cuba.

His experience as an assistant professor at Cenesex, he says, also leads him to consider that any legal norm needs a process of “education, awareness and training“.

“This is so that it places in better conditions those who operate these legal norms and their recipients, whose rights are reflected and guaranteed” and, in the case of the Family Code, “it is essential.”

Vázquez says that this process must occur not only in formal institutions, but also in communities and “any space in our society suitable for it.”

The critics

Vázquez criticizes the position of the Catholic Church and other conservative sectors, which seek “restrict the catalog of guaranteed rights who proposes this project.

“Somehow enters into a frank contradiction with constitutional postulates such as human dignity,” says the deputy director of Cenesex – a center directed by the Cuban sexologist and deputy Mariela Castro, daughter of former president Raúl Castro.

A march of the LGTBI community in Havana.  AFP photo

A march of the LGTBI community in Havana. AFP Photo

Vázquez also responds to criticism from some sectors of the LGBTIQ+ community, who question the holding of a popular consultation on an issue that, according to them, belongs to a minority.

In this regard, it states that “a popular consultation gives health to any legal norm, since its essence is not to approve it or not, but to democratize the process of elaboration of the norm”.

He defends that the popular consultation is “an organized space so that all people, from their positions, have the opportunity to discuss the standardpropose elements that were not taken into account” previously.

The researcher notes that another issue is the referendum -which should be held after the popular consultation, in the second half of this year- and dismisses the criticism regarding it from sectors of the LGBTIQ+ community.

Vázquez also points out that homosexual marriage is not being put to a referendum, but the entire package of reforms of the Family Code: “It is about submitting a legal norm to a referendum that involves many more issues than those directly related to LGBTIQ+ people. “.

In your opinion, the challenge of LGBTIQ+ people it is not to question why this proposal will be put to a referendum“but to consider how we are going to contribute to the process resulting in a victory”.

The violence

Another of the questions that the project has received is the one referred to the claim of independent activists to have a specific law on gender violence, an issue included in the proposal, but along with other types of aggression within the family.

Vázquez points out that the Code “it will not solve the issue of gender-based violencenor what happens in the family scenario,” although he stresses that “his contribution would be one of the many” that Cuba needs to give “a comprehensive and integrated response to these problems.”

The homosexual community has been stigmatized in Cuba.  AFP Photo

The homosexual community has been stigmatized in Cuba. AFP Photo

“There are very pretentious positions when thinking that the code will solve a lot of problems and it is not like that. It will contribute from its scope of family legal regulation, but it does not have the complete solution”, he indicates.

He considers that “even a law on gender violence does not solve the problem”, but that the fact that it is addressed in the project is “fundamental”.

“Gender violence must be addressed across the entire legal system in the sense of occupying key places,” he stresses.

And it also expresses its “total confidence” in the approval of the Family Code after popular consultation, its formal approval in the National Assembly (unicameral parliament) and the success in the subsequent referendum, an unprecedented process in Cuba.

“This is not a code of the jurists, but of the people, of the affections, of the families that must be explained from the heart and not only from the legal technicality”, he points out.

Vázquez therefore calls on all “people committed to social justice” to participate “actively” in the popular consultation and then in the referendum.

“May our voice be felt in this democratic exercise and political participation” for “guarantee a more just, equitable, equal and plural Cuban society“, it states.

Source: EFE

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