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Cuba Legalizes Marriage Equality in Historic Referendum

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(CNN) — Cuba has legalized same-sex marriage after Cubans voted in favor of a family code that increased protections for minorities on the island, the country's National Electoral Council announced on Monday.The Electoral Council said 74.1 percent of those eligible to vote in Sunday's national referendum had turned out to cast their ballot.With 94 percent of the votes counted as of 9 a.m.

ET on Monday morning, 3,936,790 had voted in favor and 1,950,090 against — signaling an overwhelming support for the new law.The new family code extends greater protection to women, children, and the elderly, as well as allowing LGBTQ+ couples to marry and adopt children.For decades, LGBTQ people in Cuba faced official discrimination on the communist-run island.

In the early 1960s, after Fidel Castro took power, many gay people were sent to government work camps alongside political dissidents.

Though homosexuality was legalized in Cuba in 1979, many gay men and women said they still faced open discrimination.Mariela Castro, the daughter of former Cuban president Raul Castro, has openly advocated through a government-funded center for improved rights for gays, lesbians, and transgender people.

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