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The rare vote that passed both same-sex marriage and adoption, in a nation not known for democracy, paves the way for major LGBTQ+ rights reform in the communist nation.

Cuba is set to make same-sex marriage and adoption legal following a historic nationwide referendum on the two issues. 

Preliminary results from the nation’s electoral commission showed 74 percent of 8.4 million Cubans eligible to vote participated in the Sunday referendum, with 66.9 percent voting in favour of a code making both same-sex marriage and adoption legal.

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Specifically, the 100-page “family code”, which makes same-sex marriage and civil unions legal, allows same-sex couples to adopt children and promotes equal sharing of domestic rights and responsibilities between men and women.

The updated code is a major shift in Cuban, where the authorities sent LGBTQ+ people to militarised labour camps until the 1970s.

The Cuban president led the campaign for the adoption of the code and celebrated on social media when the results were made public tweeting: “‘Yes’ has won. Justice has been done.”

There was concern from some LGBTQ+ rights campaigners that some Cubans would use the referendum as a means to express their disapproval of the government.

Dissidents had called on citizens to reject the code or to abstain. 

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