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 popular support shown nationwide -- 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."
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.
In light of that, "the (text-drafting) Committee proposes deferring the definition of marriage to the draft constitution, as a way to respect all opinions."