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Cuba decides to scrap same-sex marriage law in new constitution: Official

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Cuba will leave out of its new constitution changes that would have paved the way for legal same-sex marriage, despite majority support in local assemblies, a government official said Tuesday.

It was a surprising twist given public support nationwide for the reform and earlier remarks from lawmakers in the Americas’ only one-party Communist regime.

The measure would have changed the definition of parties in a marriage from man and wife to “between two people.”

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But “the draft constitution will not define which parties enter into a marriage… So that is now out of constitutional reform discussions overall,” Council of State secretary and drafting coordinator Homero Acosta was quoted as saying by state media.

The full draft constitution was put before neighborhood and workplace assemblies for debate between August and November. The marriage issue was the one that drew the greatest attention.

“Article 68 was the one most discussed by the people in the popular consultation, in 66 percent of the meetings (of citizen debate). Of the 192,408 opinions, 158,376 propose replacing the measure now in force with the one proposed,” Cuba’s National Assembly said on Twitter.

“The (text-drafting) Committee proposes deferring the definition of marriage to the draft constitution, as a way to respect all opinions.”

The new draft, with the changes made, will be taken up Friday by the National Assembly and then submitted to a popular referendum on February 24, 2019.

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One of the main defenders of the LGBT community in Cuba is Mariela Castro, a daughter of Fidel Castro. She said Tuesday on Facebook that the fight to defend these people will go on despite the scrapping of the proposed constitutional change.

“We have not yielded, nor will we yield to conservative and backward blackmail that is politically opposed to the emancipating project that is the Cuban revolution,” she wrote.

Ahead of its annual session, Acosta on Tuesday told the National Assembly that 60 percent of the text’s articles had undergone some type of change.

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The commission drafting the new constitution proposed a new article replacing 68, number 82, which defines marriage “as a social and legal institution.”

The committee also deemed marriage “one of the forms of family organization”, which “is based on free consent and equality of rights, obligations and legal capacity of the spouses.”

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Separately, the definition of marriage will be left to the Family Code, which will spell out who can be in a marriage.

Those details will be put to a referendum vote within two years of the draft transitional provision, the National Assembly said.

The definition will acknowledge that a shared life and shared family are part of a special legal construct.

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The failure to launch of the reform as expected comes during the term of the first post-Castro president, elected in April, Miguel Diaz-Canel.

It would have marked a sea-change on the island where sexual minorities were stigmatized in the wake of the Castro revolution in 1959.

LGBT people were harassed and some were sent to re-education camps, after which they were excluded from any public appointment.

Diaz-Canel has backed same-sex marriage since taking office and said the change “responds to the problem of eliminating all types of discrimination in society.”

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It has also been championed by Raul Castro’s daughter, Mariela Castro, who has been a staunch supporter of gay rights in Cuba.


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WATCH: Maddow goes off on GOP governor for not alerting residents of meat packing plant COVID-19 outbreak

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MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow on Wednesday harshly criticized Iowa's Republican governor for not alerting residents to an apparent COVID-19 outbreak at a meatpacking plant.

"The highest per-capita infection rate in the state of Iowa right now is in one Buena Vista County, population around 20,000," Maddow explained. "More than 3% of the entire population of the county is now confirmed to be infected."

"Now, where are all of these infections coming from?" she asked rhetorically. "You know by now, right, without me even having to say it. You know, and I know, even without having to look it up on a map. And local reporters know exactly what drives those kinds of epidemic spike numbers. Everybody knows what's going on."

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Eric Trump bragged about the stock market as the US crossed 100,000 dead — and it didn’t go well

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On Wednesday, the number of reported coronavirus deaths in the United States officially hit the 100,000 mark — a milestone experts have been anticipating for days.

But at the same time, President Donald Trump's second son chose to take the moment to brag about how the stock market was doing.

GREAT DAY for the DOW!! https://t.co/t0cK3wOKUu

— Eric Trump (@EricTrump) May 27, 2020

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Navajo Nation got masks from a former Trump official — that ‘are not approved by the FDA’: report

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The Indian Health Service acknowledged on Wednesday that 1 million respirator masks it purchased from a former Trump White House official do not meet Food and Drug Administration standards for “use in healthcare settings by health care providers.”

The IHS statement calls into question why the agency purchased expensive medical gear that it now cannot use as intended. The masks were purchased as part of a frantic agency push to supply Navajo hospitals with desperately needed protective equipment in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

ProPublica revealed last week that Zach Fuentes, President Donald Trump’s former deputy chief of staff, formed a company in early April and 11 days later won a $3 million contract with IHS to provide specialized respirator masks to the agency for use in Navajo hospitals. The contract was granted with limited competitive bidding.

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