When speaking on Saturday at the plenary session held at Havana's Conference Center, the lawmaker Miguel Barnet considered it a vanguard document, in which human rights, citizens' duties and legal guarantees stand out.
The Draft Constitution is modern, marked by the times in which we are living, said the president of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC) and the author of well-known books such as 'Biografia de un Cimarron' (Biography of a Runaway Slave).
Barnet also called to support the text and drive the country towards a future of humanism and prosperity.
The lawmaker Lizette Martinez proposed to include the concept of social justice in the preamble of the draft document, a statement that will be analyzed by the commission in charge of drawing up the text, led by the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC), Raul Castro.
The draft of Cuba's new constitution opens the path to same-sex marriage, a government official said Saturday which would make it a leader in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.
Despite being illegal in the early years of the revolution, a policy which Cuban late president and revolutionary Fidel Castro had later apologized for, 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 Former President Raul Castro’s daughter Mariela Castro.
Proposals have always been part of a future constitution that would bring reforms to Cuba’s 1976 Soviet-era Magna Carta, the secretary of the council of state, Homero Acosta, told lawmakers Saturday. The draft, elaborated by a commission headed by Raul defines matrimony as between two individuals rather than between a man and a woman, he said.
The move reflects a trend in Latin America where same-sex couples have been allowed to marry in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay and some parts of Mexico in recent years, despite church opposition.
According to Martinez, the document, after being approved by the Assembly, should be submitted to the people's opinion and to a popular referendum later that summarizes the tradition of struggle of our people and their rebellious heritage.
While the national assembly is expected to approve the draft constitution this weekend, it will then be submitted to a popular consultation, and final draft will be put to a national referendum.
Grassroots campaigns for and against gay marriage have made it the most broadly debated proposed constitutional modification.
Five evangelical denominations shared a statement on social media last month declaring marriage "exclusively the union of a man and a woman, according to the Bible."
Churches also plastered neighbourhoods with anti gay marriage posters such as one reading "I am in favour of the original design - the family as God created it," showing a heterosexual couple with a boy and a girl.
LGBT rights activists fought back with their own posters such as one reading "I am in favour of Cuban design - a very original family," showing a panoply of different family configurations including same-sex unions.
Other lawmakers agreed on the need to guarantee the continuity of the Revolution that began on January 1, 1959, and to defend the ideas of its historic leader, Fidel Castro (1926-2016).
In June, the People's Power National Assembly approved a 33-member commission with a view to drawing up the Draft Constitution of the Republic.
- Countries: Cuba