BY Sarah Marsh
HAVANA (Reuters) – The draft of Cuba’s new constitution opens the path to same-sex marriage, a government official said on Saturday, which would make the country that once persecuted homosexuals an unlikely leader in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.
In the early years of Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution, many homosexuals were sent to correctional labor camps, part of an institutionalized homophobia for which Castro later apologized.
Yet Communist-run Cuba has made great strides over the past decade on LGBT rights, approving sex-change operations and banning workplace discrimination, partly thanks to the high-profile advocacy of Castro’s niece Mariela Castro.
Proposals to recognize same-sex unions had stalled in view of the slow legislative process and lingering stigma in the macho society.