Evangelicals pray during a Mass at a church in Havana, Cuba, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019. A Cuban government push to legalize gay marriage has set off an unprecedented reaction from the island's rapidly growing evangelical churches, whose members are expected to widely reject a state-proposed constitutional reform in a nationwide referendum this month.(AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Cuban evangelicals push back against gay marriage

February 01, 2019 - 12:01 am

HAVANA (AP) — A Cuban government push to legalize gay marriage has set off an unprecedented reaction from the island's rapidly growing evangelical churches, whose members are expected to widely reject a state-proposed constitutional reform in a nationwide referendum this month.

The reform is almost certain to pass by a broad margin of Cuba's 7 million voters - language opening the door to gay marriage is only one element of the reform - but the evangelical vote could shave hundreds of thousands of votes from its victory.

With many pastors promoting "no" votes from the pulpit, the swelling evangelical rejection of the constitution is a novel development for a state that prides itself on projecting an image of ideological unanimity. Cuban government-endorsed candidates and proposals typically receive 'yes' votes well above 90 percent.

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