Cuba is set to become the most socially liberal country in the Americas by legalising gay marriage and making sex change operations free of charge under Cuba's world leading health service. The country abolished its anti-gay laws in 1979, well before most US states (many of which retain various laws against forms of sexual activity usually associated with male homosexuality), and well before New Zealand. NZ too, has only adopted a half-way-house approach to gay marriage whereby gay and lesbians can only get Civil Unions (because Helen Clark and co thought that the sanctity of marriage meant that it should remain a heterosexual-only institution).
According to a Guardian opinion piece, Havana now has a lively and vibrant gay scene, and the days of official repression and machista cultural societal oppression are over. It quotes the president of Cuba's national assembly, Ricardo Alarcon, saying that 'We have to redefine the concept of marriage. Socialism should be a society that does not exclude anybody.' This is a huge advance on the Cuban revolution's early homophobia. The Guardian says that the change has come about primarily due to pressure within Cuba, but also significantly from Cuba's external supporters of the revolution that have encouraged progressive social-political change in the island. See also, the USA Today article, When it comes to gay rights, is Cuba inching ahead of USA?