Cubans overwhelmingly approve country’s new constitution

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Cuban voters on Feb. 24 overwhelmingly approved the draft of their country’s new constitution.

Maykel González Vivero, co-founder of Tremenda Nota, an independent online magazine that is the Washington Blade’s media partner on the Communist island, reported 86.85 percent of Cubans who participated in Sunday’s referendum voted for the new constitution. Official results indicate 9 percent of voters voted against it, but González reported this figure may be higher because of abstentions or ballots that were either left blank or thrown out.

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Removal of marriage from new Cuba constitution divides LGBTI community

By : Laura Rodríguez Fuentes OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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SANTA CLARA, Cuba | The LGBTI+ community remains divided after the National Assembly modified the marriage amendment in the draft of the new constitution. Part of it defends the yes vote and supports the official campaign, while another group says it will vote against the constitution.

On Saturday, Dec. 22, the same day the Cuban Parliament in Havana ended sessions where changes to the draft Cuban constitution were approved, a group of young people discussed them in Vidal Park in Santa Clara, 300 kilometers from the Cuban capital.

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Cuban assembly approves draft of new constitution, paves way for separate referendum on same-sex marriage

By : Wire Report
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HAVANA (AP) | Cuba’s National Assembly approved an update of the country’s constitution Dec. 22, the final step before a national referendum expected to approve the new charter in February.

The new constitution contains more continuity than change, although it recognizes the de-facto modernization of Cuban society over the last decade. The constitution maintains Cuba as a centrally planned economy ruled by a single Communist Party, but recognizes private property for the first time and paves the way for a separate referendum on legalizing same-sex marriage.

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Marriage amendment removed from new Cuba constitution

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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HAVANA | The Cuban government on Dec. 18 announced the draft of the country’s new constitution will not contain an amendment that would have extended marriage rights to same-sex couples.

Hatzel Vela, a Havana-based reporter for WPLG, a South Florida television station, reported the Cuban National Assembly cited Council of State Secretary Homero Acosta Álvarez in a series of tweets that explained the decision.

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Taiwan marriage activists receive support from Evan Wolfson, HRC

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The founder of Freedom to Marry and two of his former colleagues are working with same-sex marriage activists in Taiwan ahead of next month’s referendum on the issue.

Evan Wolfson, Cameron Tolle and Thalia Zepatos are working with the Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan, an organization that is campaigning in support of marriage rights for same-sex couples on the island.

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Cuban president backs same-sex marriage

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel has said he supports an amendment to his country’s new constitution that would extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.

“I defend that there should be no type of discrimination,” he told Telesur, a television station that is largely funded by the Venezuelan government, during an interview that aired on Sunday. “The will of the people and the people’s sovereignty will have the final word.”

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Cuban YouTubers document LGBTI life, issues

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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SAGUA LA GRANDE, Cuba — A growing number of Cuban internet users are using YouTube to document LGBTI life and issues on the Communist island.

Nelson Julio Álvarez Mairata, who lives in Sagua la Grande, a small city on Cuba’s north central coast that is located roughly three hours east of Havana, launched his YouTube channel, Nexy J Show, in 2016.

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New Cuba constitution could allow same-sex marriage

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A proposed amendment to Cuba’s new constitution would extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.

Francisco Rodríguez Cruz, a gay Cuban blogger who writes under the pen name Paquito el de Cuba, on Friday wrote the proposed amendment would “redefine marriage as a voluntary union into which two people who are legally eligible can enter.” Rodríguez reported the proposed amendment also “incorporates the principle of nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

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Cuban bars use right of admission to throw out LGBTQ people

By : Maykel González Vivero of the Washington Blade, Courtesy of the Natioan LGBT Media Association
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HAVANA — Recently private bars in Havana have used the “right of admission reserved” to keep the doors closed on LGBTI+ people. Recent incidents expose the lack of Cuban legislation to prevent discrimination and protect victims.

At midnight on July 8, while Brian Canelles and Arian Abreu were having a drink at the Efe Bar in El Vedado, Havana, they decided to take a selfie of themselves giving each other a kiss. The bouncer told them they were not allowed to take the photo and the couple was eventually kicked out because “the bar didn’t want to have a gay image.” The bouncer argued, “We’re not interested in that type of publicity, and we don’t want to get that reputation.”

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Cuba activists push for same-sex marriage

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A torrential downpour was passing over the Cuban capital on May 11 when Violeta Cardoso and her partner of 32 years, Isabel Pacheco, arrived at a coffee shop in the Vedado neighborhood.

The women soon began to speak passionately about LGBTI-specific issues with Juana Mora and Lidia Romero of Acepto, a group that advocates for marriage rights for same-sex couples in Cuba. It was sweltering inside the coffee shop because of a power outage, but the women nevertheless spoke with each other for more than an hour as they drank iced tea and coffee.

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Ros-Lehtinen talks retirement, slams Trump’s military trans ban

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Letinen (R-Fla.) speaks with the Washington Blade at her office on Capitol Hill on May 21. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.

Retiring U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) last week reiterated her criticism of President Trump over a host of issues that includes his effort to ban transgender people from the military.

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Gay Cuban couple among Miami bridge collapse victims

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Alberto Arias and Osvaldo ‘Ozzy’ González. Photo courtesy Facebook.

A gay couple who was originally from Cuba are among the six people who died on March 15 when a pedestrian bridge collapsed onto a Miami thoroughfare.

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