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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.

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

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.

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“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.”

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

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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.

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.

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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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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Why was Jeffrey Epstein buying size 5 women’s panties — while in jail?

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The Miami Herald has another bombshell report on Jeffrey Epstein, who died in a Manhattan jail while waiting to stand trial on federal sex crimes charges.

"A decade ago, during a brief stint in Palm Beach County Jail, convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein made an odd purchase at the facility’s store: two pairs of small women’s panties, size 5," the Herald reported Saturday night.

The newspaper noted, "the panties raise questions about why a childless male inmate, accused of sexually abusing girls as young as 14, would be allowed to buy female undergarments so small that they wouldn’t fit an average-sized adult woman."

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White nationalist Republican ridiculed after only 2 people show up for his town hall meeting

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Embattled Rep. Steve King (R-IA) suffered further humiliation on Saturday when only two people showed up for his town hall meeting with Iowa constituents.

King, who was stripped of all committee assignments for his white nationalism, was been an embarrassment for Republicans with his constant racism and misogyny.

A photo of the town hall meeting was posted on Twitter by Reuters photo editor Corinne Perkins.

https://twitter.com/corinne_perkins/status/1162806565109473280

Rep. King was quickly mocked in the comments.

Here's some of what people were saying:

https://twitter.com/sedespres/status/1162811223186006018

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2020 Election

Democrats could flip the Texas state house in 2020 — and reshape the national map

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Blue Texas? Democrats have long dreamt of winning Texas’s 38 electoral votes in the presidential election. That may still be a long shot, but a recent “Texodus” from Congress has given new talk to a political transformation across the Lone Star State that could have massive ramifications down the ballot and for decades to come.

This article was originally posted at Salon.

Four of the state’s GOP members of Congress have announced their retirements in recent weeks, an unusual torrent of departures signaling that a storm is coming. And evidence shows that it’s not just hitting Texas’s federal delegation. It’s coming to Austin, too.

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