Cuba gay pride calls for same-sex marriage to become legal

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As Will Grant reports, the symbolic gay weddings were held to protests that same sex marriage is still illegal in Cuba

More than 1,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Cubans have marched through the streets of Havana to protest against discrimination.

The event was organised by President Raul Castro's daughter, Mariela Castro.

Although same-sex marriage remains illegal, dozens of couples took part in symbolic gay weddings presided over by religious leaders from Cuba and the US.

Two years ago, Cuban law banned workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The wedding ceremonies at the Eighth Annual March against Homophobia and Transphobia were a form of protest at the fact that gay marriage and same sex unions are still illegal in Cuba.

Image source, AP
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Cuba's gay pride marches get bigger and more confident every year
Image source, Reuters
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President Castro's daughter, Mariela, has been a champion of LGBT rights in Cuba for many years

Cuban LGBT organisations hope gay marriage will become legal before their march takes place next year.

Of all the areas in which Cuba has changed since Fidel Castro left power, the steps towards improved gay and lesbian rights on the island are some of the most significant, says the BBC's Will Grant in Havana.

"Same sex marriage is already legal in Argentina and Uruguay and in Mexico City. And we've always celebrated their achievements," said Mariela Castro, who is head of Cuba's Sexual Health Institute.

"So we're not interested in being the first. For us, it's just about achieving it in the first place," she added.