Gay marriage activists in Cuba defend their cause
The updated version of Cuba's constitution, which will be the subject of debate beginning Monday, modifies the concept of marriage, now defined as a "voluntary union between a man and a woman," to a "union between two persons."
Without massive rallies but with a lot of passion, LGTBI activists in Cuba use fashion design, social networks and photos of symbolic weddings in the landmark Plaza de la Revolucion in order to raise awareness about the new constitution that will open the way to gay marriage on the island.
Though activists defending the rights of this community have been working for over a decade - with sometimes more, sometimes less government support - their projects notably increased after the contents of a draft of the new Magna Carta became known, and which will be debated starting this Monday in a three-month referendum process.
"When I saw two women dressed as brides, kissing each other and having their wedding pictures taken on the Malecon esplanade and in the Plaza (de la Revolucion), I said to myself, something's going on here," Darily, a Havana woman who was "pleasantly surprised" when she saw the "positive reaction" of most onlookers, told EFE.
The photo shoot, organized by activists of the theater group El Ciervo Encantado (The Enchanted Deer), was one of the "eye-catching" activities intended to make visible the debate on Article 68 of the new constitution, which will be the subject of a referendum next February.
The updated Magna Carta modifies the concept of marriage, now defined as a "voluntary union between a man and a woman," to a "union between two persons," which opens the way to the legalization of same-sex marriage and responds to a historic demand by the Cuban LGTBI collective.
Constitutional reform includes among its more noteworthy changes the elimination of the term "communism," though in practice Cuba's political system will continue as usual.
Despite the generalized acceptance of same-sex marriage by the Cuban Parliament, its legalization has provoked widely divergent opinions among the islanders.
For Lolita, "love is free" and gay marriages ought to be something quite "natural," while for Alexander, a biketaxi driver, it's all the same to him because "people do what they want with their lives."
"In Cuba there are few physical areas where people of different ideologies can come together. But to some extent, social networks have filled that gap," EFE was told by Yadiel Cepero, administrator of the Facebook group called Structuring an Agenda of Sexual Diversity in Cuba.