The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, on Wednesday condemned passage in the Puerto Rico Senate of changes to the U.S. territory's Civil Code.

The changes now head to the Puerto Rico House of Representatives.

HRC called on Governor Wanda Vazquez to delay the process “to allow for a level of civic participation that is responsive to the limitations presented by the COVID-19 global pandemic and to veto any eventual legislation that would threaten the rights and lives of LGBTQ people.”

“Puerto Ricans deserve a fair, transparent ratification process of their Civil Code, not a rushed, backroom deal by the legislature,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “We condemn anti-equality leaders’ furtive attempts to use this process as a way to target LGBTQ Puerto Ricans. The secrecy surrounding the codes and the legislative process is particularly troubling in the context of the COVID-19 global pandemic, which has critically hampered the ability for citizens to participate and make their voices heard. Governor Wanda Vazquez must stand up for LGBTQ Puerto Ricans and for democracy by slowing down this process and allowing all to participate in shaping the future of the island.”

Before voting on the measure, Senators amended the code to comply with a federal court's order that secured the right of transgender people to correct their birth certificates to reflect their gender identity.

Lambda Legal, which represented plaintiffs in Arroyo v. Rossello, warned Governor Vazquez in March that the proposed civil code violated the court's ruling.

In a statement, Lambda Legal said that while it appreciates the Senate's amendment, the proposal remains “flawed.”

“[T]he proposed new Civil Code still falls woefully short of reflecting the progress we have made in our society and fails to recognize modern families,” the group said in a statement. “In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and the wave of violence affecting transgender people in the Island, Puerto Rico’s legislature chose to prioritize a flawed new Civil Code, without the benefit of public hearings or an open process.”

(Related: Two men charged in connection with murder of two transgender women in Puerto Rico.)

"While we appreciate the inclusion of language recognizing the right of transgender people to correct their birth certificates, we urge Puerto Rico’s Governor not to sign the new Civil Code into law. It is flawed, procedurally and substantively.”