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LGBT rights in Puerto Rico

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LGBT rights have slowly begun to develop within recent years. Public discussion and debate about sexual orientation and gender identity issues have increased, and some legal progress has been made. Yet, public opposition, even prejudice, is still a problem due, in large part, to the strong influence of the Catholic Church and socially conservative Protestants.

LawEdit

Criminal Code Edit

In 2002, the Puerto Rico Supreme Court ruled that the commonwealth's ban on sodomy was not unconstitutional. [1] In 2003, however, the U.S. Supreme Court declared unconstitutional all state and territorial statutes penalizing consensual sodomy, including Puerto Rico's, in the case Lawrence v. Texas.

This prompted opponents of the anti-gay law to focus their efforts to persuade lawmakers the change the law, which they did in 2005. Same-sex relations between consenting adults were officially legalized with the approval of the new Penal Code in 2005. [2]

In 2003, the Puerto Rico Supreme Court also ruled that criminal laws against domestic abuse and or violence do not apply to same-sex couples. [3]

Crimes motivated by prejudice based on sexual orientation and or gender identity are considered hate crimes, and are prohibited according to the Article 72 of the new penal Code of 2004.

Civil Rights Edit

The Commonwealth does not have any national legislation to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. In 1973 the Comunidad de Orgullo Gay (the Gay Pride Community) was the first gay rights organization in Puerto Rico. In 1991, the Coalición Puertorriqueña de Lesbianas y Homosexuales (the Puerto Rican Lesbian and Gay Coalition) was also formed [4]. That same year, one of the first LGBT pride parades was organized in Puerto Rico, and subsequent events occur each year in San Juan and Cabo Rojo. [5]

Between the 1990s and 2008, various LGBT community groups arose, as there was more public discussion about sexual orientation, gender identity, human rights and the AIDS-HIV pandemic. Today, there are numerous Puerto Rican LGBT rights organizations and nightclubs [6].

Constitutional Rights Edit

In 2008, the Commonwealth's Senate passed a proposed refrendum to voters that will strengthen Puerto Rico's ban on same-sex marriages by banning civil unions and domestic partnership benefits. [7] Better known as resolución 99 (resolution 99), the constitutional amendment has not been approved by the Commonwealth's House of Representatives and the legislative committee studying the proposal concluded not to recommend its approval.

During public hearings, attorney general Roberto Sánchez Ramos declared it might be unconstitutional to deny the right of marriage to same-sex couples [8].

Politics Edit

The two major political party's opinions on LGBT rights issues have demonstrated significant internal and external variation.

In 2004, New Progressive Party Senator Miriam Ramírez of the Puerto Rico Senate publicly decried the Puerto Rico Tourism Department encouraging LGBT people to visit the commonwealth on the grounds that it would create another "Sodom and Gomorrah"[9]. However, New Progressive Party Representative Albita Rivera Ramirez was the first Puerto Rico elected official to march in an LGBT pride festival, and has publicly opposed legislation that would ban same-sex marriage [10]

The Popular Democratic Party has a reputation for having a mildly more socially liberal philosophy.

The Puerto Rican Independence Party is a Social Democratic party and a member of the Socialist International.

In 2007, the new Puerto Ricans for Puerto Rico Party was formally registered and states, and seems to support some LGBT-rights:

  • Puerto Ricans for Puerto Rico is a political party that represents equal opportunities for all people who love Puerto Rico, regardless of their race, origin, socioeconomic level, sexual orientation, and political status preference, and their right to work together to improve our country. [11].
  • This new framework of opportunities allows all Puerto Ricans to access education, employment, properties and assets, and ensures legal and economic justice for the homosexual communities .[12].
  • The right to be a couple, by modifying the civil code so that it includes same-sex or different-sex partners who want to form civil unions, with the same legal rights and possibilities for economic development that are currently enjoyed exclusively by married couples [13].


Wikipedialogo This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at LGBT rights in Puerto Rico. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with LGBT Info, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0.

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