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Castro's Daughter Sponsors Blessing of Cuban Gay Couples

Castro's daughter Mariela heads Cuba's Center for Sex Education, which has been pushing for gay rights in a country with a history of persecuting homosexuals.

A couple performs a symbolic marriage with U.S. Rev. Roger LaRade during a gay parade on May 9, 2015, in Havana. (Image source: ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images)

Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski

HAVANA (AP) — A day before Cuban President Raul Castro visits the Vatican, his daughter has sponsored a blessing ceremony for gay couples on an island where gay marriage remains illegal.

A couple performs a symbolic marriage with U.S. Rev. Roger LaRade during a gay parade on May 9, 2015, in Havana. (Image source: ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images)

Nearly two dozen gay couples held hands or embraced as American and Canadian Protestant clergyman blessed them Saturday. It was part of official ceremonies leading up to the Global Day against Homophobia on May 17.

Locals take part in a gay parade on May 9, 2015, in Havana. (Image source: ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images)

Castro's daughter Mariela heads Cuba's Center for Sex Education, which has been pushing for gay rights in a country with a history of persecuting homosexuals.

Locals wave flags during a gay parade on May 9, 2015, in Havana. (Image source: ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images)

Cuba has also been growing closer to the Catholic Church, which had a troubled relationship with the communist government during much of the Cold War. Mariela Castro was careful not to call Saturday's ceremony a wedding.

Follow Dave Urbanski (@DaveVUrbanski) on Twitter

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