HAVANA, Sept 26 – Cubans overwhelmingly approved gay marriage and adoption in a government-backed referendum on Sunday that also boosted women’s rights, the national electoral commission said on Monday.
More than 3.9 million voters voted to ratify the code (66.9 percent), while 1.95 million were against ratification (33 percent), commission president Alina Balseiro Gutierrez said on state television Monday.
“Justice has been served,” Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel tweeted.
“It pays off the debt of several generations of Cuban men and women whose family projects have been waiting years for this law,” he said.
The 100-page “family code” legalizes same-sex marriage and civil unions, allows same-sex couples to adopt children and promotes the equal sharing of domestic rights and responsibilities between men and women.
Preliminary results from the Electoral Commission showed that 74% of the 8.4 million Cubans eligible to vote participated in Sunday’s referendum.
There are no independent Cuban election observers, although citizens can monitor the count in their precincts. Scattered local reports of district numbers on social media appear to match the official results.
The announcement of the results came as Diaz-Canel chaired an emergency meeting as the Caribbean island prepared for Hurricane Ian to pass over its western tip early on Tuesday.
Official Twitter accounts showed the room burst into applause and the president leaned back and smiled at the news. The Cuban president campaigned for the adoption of the code.
By Cuban standards, Sunday’s turnout was relatively modest, and the 33% “no” was relatively large in the communist-run country, where previous referendums saw the government’s position almost unanimously approved.
The dissent is a sign of how Cuba is changing and the current dire economic circumstances that have led to long power outages and disruptions to food, medicine and fuel.
Sunday’s vote was also the first of its kind since mobile internet was legalized in 2018, allowing dissenting views to spread more widely.