One of the orders that García signed specifically prohibits hospitals from discriminating against potential patients based on their gender identity when they seek treatment in an emergency room. The second mandate allows trans Puerto Ricans to change the gender on their driver’s license.
“My administration is committed to the eradication of all types of discrimination,” said García in a press release that his office issued on Tuesday.
Pedro Julio Serrano, founder of Puerto Rico Para Tod@s, a Puerto Rican LGBT advocacy group, praised García.
“I congratulate the governor for doing the right thing,” said Serrano. “Transgender and transsexual people deserve all rights. This is a great step that recognizes their dignity and begins to eradicate the institutional barriers that prevent them from having the same opportunities that the rest of the population (of Puerto Rico) takes for granted.”
García in 2013 signed two bills into law that ban anti-LGBT discrimination in Puerto Rico and added sexual orientation and gender identity to the island’s domestic violence laws. The governor earlier this year announced his administration would no longer defend the U.S. commonwealth’s ban on the recognition of same-sex marriages and those in which one person is trans.
The U.S. Supreme Court in June ruled that gays and lesbians have the constitutional right to marry throughout the country, including in Puerto Rico. Gay Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline and U.S. Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) last month introduced a bill — the Equality Act — that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act.