Cuban evangelicals gear up to fight gay marriage

Evangelicals in Cuba are gearing up to fight what they fear are moves toward the acceptance of gay marriage in the Communist country.

Five church groups – The Evangelical League of Cuba, the Eastern and Western Baptist Conventions, the Methodist Church of Cuba and the Assembly of God Evangelical Church – explained their position on their social networks, according to the Miami Herald.

Mariela Castro is campaigning for gay marriage in Cuba.Reuters

Cuba's constitution is being redrafted and the daughter of former leader Raul Castro, Mariela Castro Espin, is lobbying for a section recognising rights for LGBT people which may include same-sex marriage.

'We want to make authorities aware of the dangers that same-sex marriage can present to the nation,' said Dariel Llanes Quintana, president of the Western Baptist Convention.

He said the five denominations had asked authorities for permission to organise a march in Havana, but had been refused.

The denominations' leaders said the ideology of gender had 'no relationship at all' with Communist countries, citing the former Soviet Union, China, Vietnam and North Korea, in none of which same-sex marriage is legal. Methodist Bishop Ricardo Pereira Diaz said: 'You can't just pick from capitalism what's convenient to you. If the country is Communist, then let it be Communist.'

He criticised entities like Mariela Castro's Centre for Sex Education, known as Cenesex, saying: 'In other countries, parents can send their children to private or public schools that are acceptable to their faith. In a country like ours, where education is ruled by the government and there are no alternatives, teaching a child something that is contrary to their faith is a violation of free will.'

Religious freedom continues to be restricted in Cuba and violations of human rights are widespread despite cautious economic reforms begun under President Miguel Diaz-Canel.