Cuba has voted to legalise same-sex marriage and give gay couples the right to adopt children in a historic national referendum.

Roughly two-thirds of the population voted to approve the reforms in a sweeping “family law” code which will also see rights for children and grandparents redefined and surrogate pregnancies allowed. 

Although a few places are yet to be counted, the president of the National Electoral Council, Alina Balseiro Gutiérrez, told local outlets that the changes had been approved by a vote of 66.9% to 33.1%.

It comes after the government ran a nationwide campaign urging the public to support the law change.

“Most of our people will vote in favour of the code, but it still has issues that our society as a whole does not understand,” said President Miguel Díaz-Canel as he voted on 25 September.

The referendum was for a new Family Code, which is a 100-page document that went through dozens of drafts before reaching its final stages. 

It was met with an unusually strong amount of resistance from religious groups and conservatives in the country, despite the measures being approved by Cuba’s parliament, the National Assembly, after several years of debate over whether or not to implement them

The success of the referendum is the result of tireless efforts by LGBTQ+ activists in the country, where gay people were subjected to heavy persecution in the 1960s and 70s. 

Attitudes towards homosexuality have come a long way on the Communist-run island since then, though there is still a long way to go in tackling homophobia from those in opposition to the changes.