Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Puerto Rico's House of Reps approves sweeping measures to protect LGBT people - 25 MAY 2013 | BY GREG HERNANDEZ

Puerto Rico's House of Reps approves sweeping measures to protect LGBT people

Senate already has approved and governor has promised to sign into law
The Puerto Rican House of Representatives on Friday (24 May) approved a sweeping nondiscrimination bill that protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in employment, housing, governmental services, public accommodations and private entities.
The Senate has already approved the bill andGovernor Alejandro García Padilla has vowed to sign the legislation into law.
The vote occurred as similar legislation - the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) - remains stalled in the US Congress.
In addition to the non-discrimination bill, The House also passed a bill that adds to the country's domestic violence law protections for sexual orientation, marital status and gender identity.
It will now move to the Senate for consideration.
LGBT rights are advancing in Puerto Rico as a consequence of decades of activism and a change in government last November.
'Today is a thrilling day in Puerto Rican history,' said Pedro Julio Serrano, president of the LGBT rights organization Puerto Rico para Tod@s.
'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,' Serrano added. 'Equality is inevitable. Puerto Rico will be for all.'
Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force said in a statement: '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.'

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