Press

Puerto Rico Legislature passes nondiscrimination bill protecting LGBT people

Date: 
May 24, 2013

MEDIA CONTACT:

Pedro Julio Serrano
Communications Manager
(Office) 646.358.1479
(Cell) 787.602.5954
pserrano@theTaskForce.org

WASHINGTON, May 24 — The Puerto Rican House of Representatives today approved a nondiscrimination bill that protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in employment. Last week, the Senate approved the bill in a 15-11 vote and Gov. Alejandro García Padilla has vowed to sign the bill into law.

The House today also approved a bill to add protections for sexual orientation, marital status and gender identity to the domestic violence law. It now moves to the Senate.

LGBT rights are advancing in Puerto Rico as a consequence of decades of activism and a change in government last November. The Task Force has been at the forefront of this struggle for the past seven years. These efforts include speaking out against hate crimes and anti-LGBT violence; standing in solidarity with the Puerto Rican LGBT community; meeting with Congressman Luis Gutierrez to ask for support in this struggle against anti-LGBT violence; and the Task Force's National Religious Leadership Roundtable convening in Puerto Rico to express support.

Statement by Pedro Julio Serrano
Founder, Puerto Rico Para Tod@s
Communications Manager, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

"Today is a thrilling day in Puerto Rican history. A decade ago, LGBT Puerto Ricans were criminals under the sodomy law, today we're second-class citizens and when this bill is signed into law, we will be closer to achieving the first-class citizenship that we deserve. Equality is inevitable. Puerto Rico will be for all."

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

"We celebrate with the Puerto Rican LGBT community this amazing milestone. The nondiscrimination bill that will become law with the signature of Gov. García Padilla is a testament to the resiliency and steadfastness of the Puerto Rican LGBT community and its allies.

"The Puerto Rican LGBT community has endured an epidemic of anti-LGBT violence that has taken more than 35 lives in the past three years. Nonetheless, this community has continued to stand strong in the face of adversity and today can celebrate this glorious victory. We thank all the activists that have been part of this effort, especially our own Pedro Julio Serrano, who has been a steadfast and uncompromising leader in this struggle."

To learn more about the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, follow us on Twitter: @TheTaskForce.

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The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund builds the grassroots political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The Task Force Action Fund does this through direct and grassroots lobbying to defeat anti-LGBT ballot initiatives and legislation, and works to pass pro-LGBT legislation and other progressive initiatives. The Task Force Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation incorporated in New York. Contributions to the Task Force Action Fund are not tax-deductible.