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There is no retreat: The essence of Article 68 is maintained

mariela cCastroOne of the most debated proposed changes to the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba surrounded the issue of same-sex marriage. In this regard, Deputy Mariela Castro Espín clarified that the new version of the text provides an even more advanced concept of marriage, de facto unions, and families in all their diversity.

THE reformulation of the previous Article 68, which is currently contained in Article 82, should be interpreted as an advance in a process as complex as the reform of the most important norm in our social and political context.

Contrary to the distortion and misrepresentation that has been spread on social networks in recent days, the current article on marriage maintains its vocation of inclusion, in total harmony with the principle of equality and non-discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, which is also contained in the proposed constitutional text in the current Article 42.

The constitutional reference to marriage is now in a new chapter, in which families in all their diversity are addressed. Marriage is enshrined as a social and legal institution, and is recognized as one of the forms of family organization, but not the only one.

With respect to the subjects of marriage, the concept of spouses is used, a legal construction that refers to the people who have formalized their marriage bond, and that in no way limits the possibility that people of the same gender can consent to marriage as a form of legal recognition of the union they have chosen to construct. Do not doubt that Article 82 erases, in constitutional terms, any binary allusion or basis in terms of gender and the heteronormativity that characterizes the regulation of marriage that exists in the text that we are trying to reform today.

The new formulation establishes de facto unions as a novel element, without binding them to any gender; according to statistics and the opinions of experts on families in our country, this form of relationship is the most used in our society.

Another original element is the fact that no express reference is made to reproduction as the purpose of marriage or of families, which dissociates this outdated concept that meant family dynamics revolved around offspring. This, obviously, will visualize the right of people who, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity, do not conceive of reproduction as the ultimate goal of their life projects, but do decide to form families regardless.

There is no retreat; the essence of Article 68 is maintained, in fact the current wording, as I have set out, transcends the previous proposal.

We have an initial challenge – to guarantee the positive vote of the majority of our electorate in the democratic exercise scheduled for February of next year. From today and up to that date, we must strengthen communication and awareness strategies among the population to provide all the arguments that are needed.

After the referendum, and with the favorable vote of the majority of our people, in which I have every confidence, we must concentrate on the formulation of the law that will put into practice everything related to families and, in particular, to marriage.

This law, the Family Code, should be informed by the most advanced scientific positions on the subject, and we will have to take as references the similar experiences that exist internationally, but also our own social reality. The proposed amendments to the current Family Code should articulate and guarantee marriage as is constitutionally conceived – as a plural, inclusive institution, to which all people can accede without distinction.

I insist that faced with the manipulative campaigns that the counterrevolution is disseminating on social media to sabotage the referendum, promoting a No vote, we have the duty to undertake a good and rigorous campaign to inform the people and the world.

I want to make plain that the principles of the Revolution and the rights of all people are protected in the new constitutional text. Now we have to legitimize them with the Yes that we will provide in the Referendum.

Trust that the educational and transformative nature of the law will ensure justice prevails in the legislation that derives from the Constitution. Cuba needs this Constitution, and on February 24, Cuba will once again rise up, for all time.

Let’s say Yes to the Constitution, and then close ranks to achieve implementing legislation as advanced as what our new constitutional text will be.

I want to congratulate the National Assembly and emphatically, the Drafting Commission, for its rigorous work, for its conceptual and methodological contribution to this democratic exercise, and for the critical spirit it has maintained regarding its own efforts, to perfect the following processes that we will undertake.

I want to congratulate Homero Acosta for masterfully carrying out his duties as a jurist and as an educator, as he taught us deputies, but also our people.

Also the people of Cuba, for their political maturity, for their valuable contributions, and for the responsibility assumed.

Most especially, I want to congratulate an educator who has been an inspiring example in my life, who taught me that you can love the Revolution without abandoning your family, and that you can love your family without abandoning the Revolution. Thank you for your example, as a father and as a revolutionary.

(Statement by Deputy Mariela Castro Espín, during the Second Ordinary Session of the National Assembly of People’s Power’s Ninth Legislature, December 22, 2018, in which the final text of the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba, including recommendations stemming from the popular consultation process, was approved.)

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