Cuba's National Assembly on Sunday approved a draft constitution that would allow same-sex marriage on the island.

The draft constitution will be put to a popular consultation later this year. The final draft must be approved in a national referendum.

Deputy Mariela Castro, the daughter of Communist Party chief Raul Castro and the head of Cuba's National Center for Sex Education, applauded passage.

“With this proposal for constitutional regulation, Cuba puts itself among the world's leading countries in terms of recognizing and guaranteeing human rights,” she said.

Many gay men were sent to labor camps during the early years of Fidel Castro's revolution.

NBC News reported that churches are working to defeat the proposal, plastering posters in neighborhoods that read, “I am in favor of the original design – the family as God created it.”