- The Washington Times - Friday, April 26, 2013

The United States has turned down a request from the daughter of Cuba President Raul Castro to visit Philadelphia for a gay rights ceremony.

Mariela Castro was supposed to receive an award for her activism, The Associated Press reported. The State Department turned down her request on Thursday.

“We find it shocking that our State Department would deny freedom of speech, particularly at an international civil rights summit, to anyone, let alone the Cuban president’s daughter,” said Malcolm Lazin, executive director for the Equality Forum, in the AP report The group is hosting next week’s conference for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights.

The State Department declined to comment.

Ms. Castro is director of Cuba’s National Center for Sex Education and the country’s most well-known gay rights activist. She’s the niece of former leader Fidel Castro, who retired.