May 29, 2013 | by Michael K. Lavers
Puerto Rico governor signs LGBT bills into law
Alejandro García Padilla, Puerto Rico, Washington Blade, gay news

Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro García Padilla (Public domain photo by the U.S. Department of Labor)

Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro García Padilla on Wednesday signed two bills into law that ban anti-LGBT discrimination on the island and add sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to the U.S. commonwealth’s domestic violence laws.

“The dignity of being a human being is inviolable because we are all the same and we must be equal under the law,” the governor said in a tweet before he signed the measures at his official residence in San Juan. “Today is a great day for Puerto Rico. I feel that I have fulfilled my duty as a Christian to sign these laws.”

The Puerto Rico Senate on Monday approved an amended version of the non-discrimination bill that passed by a 29-22 vote margin in the island’s House of Representatives on Friday. Lawmakers on the same day also approved the domestic violence measure.

The Puerto Rico Senate first approved the non-discrimination bill on May 16 by a 15-11 vote margin.

“It’s a new day in Puerto Rico,” Pedro Julio Serrano of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force told the Washington Blade before García signed the measures into law. “After years of struggle, we are on the brink of equality. Puerto Rico will be a place for all.”

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz and singer Ricky Martin are among those who have also applauded the passage of the two bills.

A number of prominent Puerto Rican religious leaders criticized lawmakers who supported the measures.

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

3 Comments
  • So some religious leaders there are into hate and do not believe in justice for all? How un-Christian and un-American. Boo on them.

  • This is incorrect: “…signed two bills into law that ban anti-LGBT discrimination on the island…” The first bill only and exclusively applies to job/work protection. The words lgbt, sexual orientation and gender identity were eliminated from the law. They invented a vague definition for LGTB people. Clauses eliminated from first bill also: Discrimination in commercial transactions, property rentals, public transportation and other circumstances. Hardly a ban on anti-LGBT discrimination, don’t you agree?
    This is incorrect: “… and add sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to the U.S. commonwealth’s domestic violence laws.” The words were eliminated as well. Vague definition added.

  • I think that reflects a commonwealth that shows great deal of integrity in developing non-biased policies of equality, based on the nature of the human experience, and the preferences we choose for ourselves, and our right to make that life affirming choice to support an lGBT persuasion.

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