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Cuba legalizes same-sex marriage by referendum and will allow same-sex couples to adopt

Cuba vote to legalize same-sex marriage in a referendum, also making it legal for same-sex couples to adopt children.

The referendum passed with 94% of the votes counted by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, with 3,936,790 votes in favor and 1,950,090 against, CNN reported. The favorable vote will see an overhaul of the family code, which has been the law of the land since the communist revolution of 1959. The new 100-page family code has been the subject of more than two dozen drafts and hours of debate, according the BBC.


Two women register to vote at a polling station during the new Family Code referendum in Havana, Cuba.

Ramon Espinosa/AP

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Legalization is a far cry from the persecution homosexuals faced in Cuba in the 1960s and 1970s, when they were sent to labor camps to be “re-educated.” Homosexuality was legalized in 1979, but homosexuals still complain of open discrimination.

Opposition to the referendum came mainly from conservatives and religious groups, including evangelical churches in Cuba.

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The referendum is seen as an effort by the Cuban government to clean up its human rights record after the brutal crackdown on protests last year, according to the BBC.

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