Last month, the Puerto Rican Senate approved a provision to their penal code that would eliminate protections for LGBT people from the island’s hate crimes law.
This week, the Puerto Rican House of Representatives is expected to vote on the proposed amendment that would eliminate sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, ethnicity and religious beliefs from the hate crimes statute. This is unfortunate news as the island has experienced a surge in anti-LGBT violence over the last two years. According to EDGE, a Boston-based LGBT media network that has covered this story extensively, “nearly two dozen LGBT Puerto Ricans have been murdered on the island since late 2009.”
In July 2011, LGBT advocates met with leaders in Puerto Rico to discuss the island’s inadequate response to hate crimes and to create steps in the right direction. But the recent provisions threaten to hamper this progress, especially in light of this week’s announcement from the Obama administration that addressed the need for protections and equality for LGBT people worldwide. Change.org has a petition urging the Puerto Rico House of Representatives to stop the amendment that would exclude LGBT people from hate crime protections. Internationally-acclaimed Puerto Rican artist Ricky Martin has joined the Change.org’s efforts and is urging his fans to sign the petition on Twitter.
GLAAD asks you to sign the petition by clicking here here.