Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia
Padilla on Wednesday signed two gay rights bills into law.
One bill prohibits workplace
discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It
cleared the House on Monday and the Senate earlier this month.
Under heavy pressure from religious
groups, lawmakers decided to strip critical clauses from the bill,
prompting both sides to claim victory. The original measure also
would have banned discrimination in commercial transactions, property
rentals and public transportation.
Pedro Julio Serrano of the National Gay
and Lesbian Task Force praised the bill's passage.
“Today is a thrilling day in Puerto
Rican history,” he said. “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.”
Another bill added sexual orientation
and gender identity to Puerto Rico's domestic violence laws.
“The dignity of being human is
inviolable, because all people are and have to be equal before the
law,” Padilla tweeted to his nearly 56,000 followers. “Today is
a great day for Puerto Rico. I feel that I have fulfilled my duty as
a Christian to sign these laws.”
Martin calls on Puerto Rico to approve gay rights law.)