Castro’s daughter holds unofficial same-sex weddings in Cuba

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The daughter of Cuban president Raúl Castro has held a number of ceremonial same-sex weddings as part of a gay rights protest.

Mariela Castro, who has long called on her family to introduce gay rights reforms in the country, led a parade of more than 1000 people through the streets of Havana yesterday.

Though same-sex marriage remains illegal in Cuba, dozens of gay and lesbian couples tied the knot at the event, with religious leaders from Cuba and the US presiding over the ceremonies.

It marks the Eighth Annual March against Homophobia and Transphobia, timed a week ahead of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia on May 17.

Speaking at the event, Mariela Castro said that she was not out to score political points, but instead called on her country to catch up with others that have already introduced equal marriage.

She said: “Same sex marriage is already legal in Argentina and Uruguay and in Mexico City. And we’ve always celebrated their achievements.

“So we’re not interested in being the first. For us, it’s just about achieving it in the first place.”

The country has been accused of using LGBT rights issues tokenisticly in the past – claiming to be the most liberal nation in Latin America on gender issues, when Mariela Castro’s National Center for Sex Education began providing gender reassignment in 2005, without putting broader frameworks in place.