February 21, 2018 at 9:28 am EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Puerto Rico lawmakers fail to override religious freedom bill veto

Members of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives on Feb. 20, 2018, failed to override Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s veto of a religious freedom bill that critics contend would have allowed anti-LGBT discrimination in the U.S. commonwealth. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Members of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives on Tuesday failed to override a veto of a religious freedom bill that critics say would have allowed anti-LGBT discrimination in the U.S. commonwealth.

Governor Ricardo Rosselló on Feb. 7 vetoed the measure that received final approval in the Puerto Rico Senate late last month. Rosselló’s pro-statehood New Progressive Party, which has a majority in the House, did not secure the necessary 34 votes to override the veto.

“Although they do not have the votes, they still insist on legalizing discrimination against LGBTT people,” tweeted Pedro Julio Serrano, founder of Puerto Rico Para Tod@s, a Puerto Rican LGBT advocacy group, on Tuesday. “We must remain alert.”

The bill received final approval less than five months after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico.

Hundreds of thousands of people remain without electricity in Puerto Rico. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz remains among the most vocal critics of President Trump’s response to Maria.

Tuesday marks five months since Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico’s southeastern coast with 155 mph winds. Hurricane Irma brushed the U.S. commonwealth on Sept. 7 after it devastated St. Thomas and St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands and other islands in the northeast Caribbean.

Damage and debris from Hurricane Maria remains on a beach in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, on Feb. 1, 2018.
(Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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