Items of interest

New constitution in Cuba
The Communist-ruled island of Cuba is in the final stages of enacting a new constitution. On Sunday 22 July 2018 its National Assembly unanimously affirmed a clause defining marriage as “the consensual union of two people, regardless of gender”.

There was rare open debate before the vote. Church groups published an open letter advocating for marriage being exclusively for the union of man and woman. However groups in Cuba, including one led by the daughter of former President Raúl Castro have been educating Cubans for years.

Corporal punishment in Indonesia’s Aceh province
A vigilante mob abducted two men from a beauty salon in Indonesia’s Aceh province. The men were found guilty of having homosexual intercourse after a court established they were in a relationship. According to the Daily Mail they were dressed in white and whipped more than 80 times outside a mosque before 1,000 people. Thirteen others were flogged also. Aceh imposes Islamic law and criminalises gay sex.

Veto exercised by Governor of Maine
A bi-partisan group of legislators in Maine passed a bill to ban gay “cure” or conversion therapy for minors. Conversion therapy describes the practice of attempting to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The American Psychiatric Association has denounced the practice.

Republican Governor LePage vetoed the bill. In his veto message he described the bill as too broad by potentially covering “a simple conversation”, a “threat to an individual’s religious liberty”. Only 13 states and the District of Columbia in the United States of America currently ban the practice. The United Kingdom recently announced it too would ban the practice.