Open letter to the Members of the National Assembly of People’s Power [Cuban Parliament] on the Draft Family Law

Havana, February 14, 2015    To the Members of the National Assembly of People's Power:    Miguel Barnet Lanza  Miriam Ofelia Ortega Suárez  Mariela Castro Espín  Raúl Suárez  Pablo Odén Marichal Rodríguez    Dear compañeras and compañeros,    I am writing to you as a Cuban citizen to express my deep concern about the recent publication in different national media of articles and news coverage advocating for the exclusive legitimacy of heterosexual marriage and hetero-parental nuclear families, in keeping with the constant bombardment of sideways and hetero-normative information –more or less explicit–about motherhood and parenthood, low birth and fertility rates in Cuba, as well as a unique and discriminatory definition of the Cuban family.    In its February 14, 2015 issue, the Official Organ of the Communist Party of Cuba [Granma newspaper], in digital and print versions, published a full page article "Un código de amor para la familia" [A law of love for the family]. In the subhead, journalist Lisandra Fariñas Acosta says: "Four decades after its enactment on February 14, 1975, Cuban Family Code remains an example of progressiveness and legal superiority in Latin America".    The text content shows the progressive and revolutionary character that, undoubtedly,the promulgation of the Code had in 1975. Some of the experts interviewed also acknowledged the need to update it. However, it neglects to refer to the amendments proposed by the Union of Jurists of Cuba and the FMC [Federation of Cuban Women] along a long process of almost twenty years. There is no mention, either, of the suggestions made by the Ministry of Justice or of the current status of the draft Family Law.    The Family Law in force is conservative and obsolete in the light of our socialist project inspired by Marti and available scientific evidence. Therefore, it requires an immediate updating that upholds the rights of a large group of Cuban citizens who do not feel represented in the letter and spirit of the current version.    Taking into account the legislative initiative that you have as Members of Parliament, I propose the following for your consideration:    Redefining the concept of family from a diversity approach: with full recognition of unions between persons of both genders and of the same gender, and for equal rights for transgender persons to form families without the need to undergo medical treatment for gender reassignment;    Recognizing single-mother and single-father families;    Expanding marriage to unions between persons irrespective of gender, and guaranteeing the associated rights without distinction. Although I personally do not approve of marriage because of its patriarchal and asymmetric nature, I consider it an inalienable right of every citizen male and female;    Granting legal recognition and equal rights to polyamorous unions;    Granting adoption rights to same-sex couples, or single persons; making more flexible the legal and bureaucratic mechanisms to expedite the exercise of this right.    Explicitly setting the right of lesbian women to assisted reproductive procedures, as well as the right of any other woman who wants the procedures; lifting the requirement of legal formalization of her relationship with a man;    Recognizing the reproductive rights of men without an affective-erotic relationship with a woman;    Redefining the definition of custody, guardianship, and care for more flexible and individualized legal forms;    Recognizing the right to a full and safe life within a family of the persons who do not feel identified with the legal gender identity they were assigned at birth. This includes the normal development of infants with these characteristics;    Enforcing the commitment of Cuba, as a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to consider the child as a subject of law and clearly defining the legal frameworks related to child abuse; formulating their full right to receive education on sexuality with a non-binary approach (female /male) or hetero-normative (heterosexuality as norm and ideology);    Including and defining the different types of violence within families, and the grounds for its prevention and individual attention;    These are some of the things that would really make our Family Code an updated, revolutionary and progressive instrument, as required by Cuban social reality of the 21st century.    With no further matters,    Alberto Roque Guerra  aroqueg@infomed.sld.cu     A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.  http://www.walterlippmann.com/docs4290.html

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