Cubans vote overwhelmingly in favor of gay marriage in a referendum.
The national election commission said Monday that Cubans voted overwhelmingly in favor of gay marriage and adoption in a referendum held on Sunday. The referendum, which was supported by the government, also gave women more rights.
Alina Balseiro Gutierrez, president of the commission, said on Monday that more than 3.9 million people voted to ratify the code (66.9%), while 1.95 million people voted against it (33%).
In a tweet, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel said, “Justice has been done.”
“It’s paying back a debt to many generations of Cuban men and women whose family projects have been waiting for this law for years,” he said.
The 100-page “family code” legalizes marriage and civil unions between people of the same gender, lets same-gender couples adopt children, and encourages men and women to share the same rights and responsibilities at home.
The electoral commission said that 74% of the 8.4 million eligible Cubans who could vote took part in the Sunday referendum.
At Cuban elections, there are no independent observers, but people can watch the vote count in their precincts. Local social media posts about district counts seemed to match up with the official results.
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Diaz-Canel was running an emergency meeting when the results were announced. The Caribbean island was getting ready for Hurricane Ian to pass over its western tip early on Tuesday.
Official tweets showed that the room was filled with cheers and that the president was leaning back and smiling at the news. The Cuban president was in charge of the campaign to get the code passed.
By Cuban standards, the turnout on Sunday was not very big, and 33% of people who voted “no” was a pretty big number in the communist-run country, where almost everyone has always agreed with the government in the past.
The disagreement shows how Cuba is changing and how bad the country’s economy is right now, with long power outages and long lines for food, medicine, and fuel.
The vote on Sunday was also the first of its kind since most people have had access to the internet, which has made it easier for different ideas to spread.