Longtime Puerto Rican LGBT activist Pedro Julio Serrano. | MYSPACE.COM
Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro García Padilla, on May 29, signed into law civil rights measures that give LGBT people on the Caribbean island nondiscrimination protections and also incorporate same-sex couples into its domestic violence law.
The measure cleared the Puerto House of Representatives in a 29-22 vote, and the Senate by a 15-11 margin.
After final legislative action, Pedro Julio Serrano, a longtime activist in the US commonwealth who works for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 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.”
According to the Task Force, there have been 40 murders of LGBT people in Puerto Rico, which has a population of roughly 3.7 million.
According to ABC News, Garcia Padilla cited his Christian faith in explaining the obligation he had to sign the legislation.