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.