Human rights activist Pedro Julio Serrano denounced, today, a bill that would legalize discrimination against LGBT people in Puerto Rico.
“This is a disgrace. During our worst crisis in history, representatives Johnny Méndez, María M. Charbonier and Guillermo Miranda continue to attack the most vulnerable communities. House Bill 1018 seeks to legalize discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. This is not only outrageous — it’s inhumane, immoral and unconstitutional,” Serrano said.
Serrano, who serves as spokesperson for Puerto Rico Para Tod@s, warned that “we will do whatever it takes to stop this bill — from participating in the legislative process to oppose it up to civil disobedience. If it’s approved, we will go to the courts to look for a remedy since this is an unconstitutional bill”.
PC 1018 seeks to create the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, mirroring similar bills in North Carolina, Mississippi and Tennessee, “which does one thing: legalizes discrimination against LGBT people using freedom of religion as an excuse. That freedom of religion does not need additional protection, because it is included in the Constitution,” according to the activist.
Serrano also warned that “this bill goes against economic and tourist development in Puerto Rico. When people, seeking to visit the island, hear about this bill that legalizes discrimination against LGBT people, they would not want to come to Puerto Rico. This bill affects our standing in the World by showing us as an intolerant, discriminatory and unwelcoming place.”
“It’s unconscionable that the New Progressive Party seeks ‘equality’ with the U.S., but wants to discriminate against its LGBT peers. This is the epitome of hypocrisy. Governor Rosselló has said that he respects LGBT rights. It’s time that he truly shows that he does by vetoing this bill in case it is approved by the Legislature,” said Serrano.