Today, Puerto Rico’s Governor, Alejandro Garcia Padilla, signed two bills into effect, one banning discrimination against the island’s LGBT citizens and another adding LGBT couples to protective provisions already in place in domestic violence statutes.
Governor Padilla’s actions followed on the heels of those of the Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital city, when earlier this month she mandated that police in the city provide equal protection and access to support services regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
“While some religious leaders mounted a vigorous campaign to defeat these legislative efforts completely,” said The Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches, “I want to lift up and celebrate the courage and conviction of Governor Padilla in announcing as he presented the new laws, he felt he had done his duty as a Christian.”
“While a coalition of faith leaders was successful in eliminating clauses that would have more fully guaranteed equality in commercial accommodations, rentals and public transportation,” she continued, “I and the members and friends of ICM Cristo Sanador, our MCC congregation in San Juan, believe with all our hearts that there is much rejoicing in heaven today, for the good news that the Creator’s plan of universal human dignity and equality has taken another step forward in our lives.”
The Rev. Jorge Delgado Rivas, member of The Moderator’s Public Policy Team and the Global Justice Institute, expressed his gratitude to the members and friends of MCC in Puerto Rico have long witnessed and worked for this day. “I am sure,” he said, “many of us remember well the days not that long ago when crimes committed against LGBT people were not even listed as hate crimes in Puerto Rico. I want to lift up the memory of people like George Steven Lopez Mercado, targeted as a teenage gay rights activist, and brutally slain. The police investigator in that case told us that ‘people who lead this life style need to be aware that this will happen.’ Today my brother, Steven, your work on behalf of our people has proved fruitful and those of us born LGBT have taken a huge step forward n reclaiming our rightful place among the human family. I thank you for praying for us, Steven, and I salute the Governor for keeping his word to us.”
Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico remains an unincorporated territory of the United States. While Puerto Ricans elect their own Governor and legislators, many aspects of life in the island nation remain under the auspices of the Congress of the United States. The first federally funded survey to determine the future of the island as either a state or a commonwealth has been promised.
Metropolitan Community Churches applauds the leadership of the Puerto Rican Governor and legislature, as well as the vision of its citizenry, in working for the fundamental equality of all God’s children.
This statement prepared in conjunction with the Global Justice Institute,
The Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Chair.
For more information about Metropolitan Community Churches, contact Ann Craig .
For more information about MCC’s Public Policy Team or the Global Justice Institute, contact The Rev. Jim Merritt at .