Havana, Cuba – It’s a major step forward in family recognition in Cuba, where campaigners are also pushing for same-sex marriage. Two moms have won their battle in Cuba to register themselves as mothers to their newborn son on his birth certificate. Dachelys Valdés Moreno and Hope Bastian used an assisted reproduction service in Florida because they weren’t able to do so in Cuba. But when they returned from Florida with their son Paulo, born on 19 May 2019, they faced a battle to register themselves as his parents.

            Bastian is originally from Florida but her partner Moreno is Cuban. Usually the process to register a Cuban citizen born outside the country is simple enough – for heterosexuals. But as a same-sex couple they faced a barrier. Cuba still does not recognize same-sex marriage or partnerships. So, the new family had to wait for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice to find a way to record Paulo’s mothers on the birth certificate and in the Registry of the Civil Status of Acts and Facts of Cubans Abroad. But now, around a year later, Paulo is registered.

            Bastian said: ‘It is a very important step because it is the first time that the Cuban State recognizes that there can be children with two mothers. “Today the state recognizes that Cuban families have many different ways of configuring themselves, that they are legitimate and legal.” In the end the Ministry of Justice chose to issue a birth certificate with a “mother and mother” instead of a “mother and father.” As such, it now reflects Paulo’s birth certificate from the Florida hospital where he was born.

Today, LGBT+ Cubans have secured some rights and protections. These include the right to change gender, an equal age of consent and anti-discrimination laws. However, it wasn’t always like that. After Fidel Castro came to power in 1959, he sent 25,000 gay men deemed unfit for military service to labor camps. He subsequently apologized for this abuse in 2010. (Gay Star News – Tris Reid-Smith at https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/cuba-has-recognized-a-baby-has-two-moms-for-the-first-time/)