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Mariela Castro, Cuba President Raul Castro's Daughter, Backs Obama On Gay Marriage

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The director of the Cuban National Centre for Sexual Education (CENESEX), Mariela Castro Espin, daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro, offers a press conference in Santo Domingo on March 7, 2012. (ERIKA SANTELICES/AFP/Getty Images) | Getty Images

HAVANA -- Cuban President Raul Castro's daughter congratulated Barack Obama on Thursday for his support for gay marriage, but said his comments are just a first step toward changing policy.

The U.S. president delivered a message that was "humane, understanding, in which he even recognizes that he too has been changing his opinion in favor of marriage, the free union of same-sex couples," said Mariela Castro, who is Cuba's most prominent gay rights activist as head of the National Center for Sex Education, or Cenesex.

"Hopefully his words will be taken seriously in the political and legislative decisions made in different states and in the whole world," Castro said, adding that such statements by Obama and other politicians must be accompanied by concrete actions if they are to be made into reality.

Castro's group is pushing a proposal to allow same-sex unions that is under consideration by Cuban legislators.

Cenesex is leading an awareness campaign this month linked to the International Day Against Homophobia on May 17.