The Puerto Rican House of Representatives today approved a nondiscrimination bill that protects LGBT people in employment. Last week, the Senate approved the bill in a 15-11 vote and Gov. Alejandro García Padilla has vowed to sign the bill into law.
LGBT rights are advancing in Puerto Rico as a consequence of decades of activism and a change in government last November. The Task Force has been at the forefront of this struggle for the past seven years. These efforts include speaking out against hate crimes and anti-LGBT violence; standing in solidarity with the Puerto Rican LGBT community; meeting with Congressman Luis Gutierrez to ask for support in this struggle against anti-LGBT violence; and the Task Force’s National Religious Leadership Roundtable convening in Puerto Rico to express support.
Statement by Pedro Julio Serrano, Founder, Puerto Rico Para Tod@s, Communications Manager, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:
Today is a thrilling day in Puerto Rican history. 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. Equality is inevitable. Puerto Rico will be for all.
Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:
We celebrate with the Puerto Rican LGBT community this amazing milestone. The nondiscrimination bill that will become law with the signature of Gov. García Padilla is a testament to the resiliency and steadfastness of the Puerto Rican LGBT community and its allies.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. We thank all the activists that have been part of this effort, especially our own Pedro Julio Serrano, who has been a steadfast and uncompromising leader in this struggle.
Legislatura de Puerto Rico aprueba medida de no discrimen que protége a las personas LGBTT
La Cámara de Representantes de Puerto Rico aprobó hoy un proyecto de no discrimen que protege a las personas lesbianas, gays, bisexuales, transgéneros y transexuales (LGBTT) en el empleo. La semana pasada, el Senado aprobó la medida en votación de 15-11 y el gobernador Alejandro García Padilla ha prometido firmarla y convertirla en ley.
La Cámara hoy también aprobó una medida para añadir protecciones a la orientación sexual, identidad de género y estado marital a la ley de violencia domestica. Ahora se mueve al Senado.
Los derechos LGBTT están avanzando en Puerto Rico como consecuencia de décadas de activismo y de un cambio de gobierno en noviembre. El Task Force ha estado involucrado en este esfuerzo por los pasados siete años. Estos esfuerzos incluyen el denunciar los crímenes de odio y la violencia anti-LGBT; mostrar solidaridad con la comunidad LGBTT puertorriqueña; reunirnos con el congresista Luis Gutierrez para pedir su apoyo en la lucha contra la violencia anti-LGBTT; y la Mesa Redonda de Liderato Religioso de Task Force se reunió en Puerto Rico para expresar su apoyo.
Cita de Pedro Julio Serrano, Fundador, Puerto Rico Para Tod@s, Gerente de Comunicaciones, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:
Hoy es un día maravilloso en la historia de Puerto Rico. Una década atrás, los puertorriqueños LGBTT eramos criminals ante el Estado bajo la ley de sodomía, hoy somos ciudadanos de segunda clase y cuando esta medida se convierta en ley, estaremos más cercas de alcanzar la ciudadanía de primera categoría que nos merecemos. La igualdad es inevitable. Puerto Rico sera para todos.
Cita de Rea Carey, Directora Ejecutiva, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:
Celebramos con la comunidad LGBTT puertorriqueña esta hazaña histórica. La medida de no discrimen que se convertirá en ley con la firma del gobernador García Padilla es testamento de la resiliencia y la voluntad de la comunidad LGBTT puertorriqueña y sus aliados.
La la comunidad LGBTT puertorriqueña ha pasado por una epidemia de violencia anti-LGBTT que ha cobrado la vida de más de 35 vidas en los pasados tres años. Sin embargo, esta comunidad ha continuado fuerte y valiente ante la adversidad y hoy puede celebrar esta gloriosa victoria. Agradecemos a todos los activistas que han sido parte de este esfuerzo, especialmente a nuestro Pedro Julio Serrano, quien ha sido un feroz y dedicado líder en esta lucha.
The Boy Scouts of America national council today voted to lift the ban on openly gay Scouts while retaining the ban on gay adults serving in leadership positions.
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey responded:
This vote marks a monumental step forward for the Boy Scouts of America. We are thrilled for the gay youth who will no longer be turned away from scouting simply because of who they are. This milestone has been years in the making, and we thank all those who have fought so hard to end this grave injustice against our young people.
As we celebrate this moment, we know the work isn’t complete. The Boy Scouts of America still discriminates against qualified adults who are denied the opportunity to participate in leadership positions because they are gay. Fairness is a fundamental American principle — it’s not to be sliced, diced, divvied up and dictated by prejudice. By retaining the discriminatory ban on gay adults, the Boy Scouts of America has signaled that this core value is up for grabs, that a level playing field remains out of reach, and that it’s still okay to target others for second-class treatment.
Boy Scouts’ leadership should stop clinging to a policy of exclusion and scrap the ban, once and for all. It’s long past time for a fully inclusive Boy Scouts of America.
The Task Force applauds today’s introduction of the “End Racial Profiling Act” by U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.). The measure seeks to prohibit the use of racial profiling by law enforcement.
Co-sponsors include Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).
Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey says:
Racial profiling undermines a pivotal principle in our nation’s criminal justice system: An individual is innocent until proven otherwise. Focusing on characteristics, rather than behaviors, to identify suspected wrongdoers is misguided, wasteful and even dangerous to those who are unfairly targeted. This includes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of color, who know all too well how easily it is to be singled out for harassment and persecution as people living at the intersection of racism and anti-LGBT bias. We thank Sen. Ben Cardin for introducing this critical legislation to help end discriminatory racial profiling practices, and urge Congress to swiftly pass the bill.
The Senate Judiciary Committee today failed to consider protections for same-sex binational couples as part of the comprehensive immigration reform bill. The bill S. 744 was passed out of committee today by a 13-5 vote.
The following statement can be attributed to the National Center for Lesbian Rights, GLAAD, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, United We Dream and Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project, Lambda Legal, Equality Federation and the National Center for Transgender Equality:
We remain steadfast in our commitment to passing compassionate, comprehensive immigration reform that will provide a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented men, women and children living in our country, including at least 267,000 LGBT undocumented immigrants.
We are disappointed that certain senators threatened the entire immigration reform bill simply because it affords 28,500 same-sex binational couples equal immigration rights. At the same time, we thank Senator Leahy for standing up for these families. A majority of Americans – 53 percent – believe that all consenting adults should have the right to get married and that gender should not play a role in who is considered family.
It is unconscionable that lawmakers committed to equality and commonsense, humane immigration policy were forced to make a false choice between protecting the rights of same-sex binational couples and keeping a tenuous coalition together. This take-it-or-leave-it stance with regard to same-sex binational couples is not helpful when we all share the same goal of passing comprehensive immigration reform that provides a path to citizenship.
Beyond the issue of same-sex binational couples, the bill addresses many issues that will particularly benefit LGBT people, such as eliminating the one-year bar on applying for asylum, providing protections for DREAMers, and improving conditions for people held in detention facilities. These include important protections limiting the use of solitary confinement and explicitly prohibiting the use of this practice based solely on a detainee’s sexual orientation or gender identity. We will continue to work to improve the legislation as we fight for its passage because this bill is a historic step forward for all immigrants and the LGBT community.
Our primary goal is to pass a commonsense, compassionate immigration reform bill that puts our nation’s undocumented men, women and children on a pathway to citizenship.
We desperately need to reform our broken immigration system immediately because it dehumanizes, scapegoats and vilifies all immigrants, including LGBT immigrants. We will continue to advocate and support changes to the bill that will create the most accessible pathway to citizenship possible and allow all undocumented immigrants the opportunity to become citizens, and we will continue to ardently oppose draconian amendments that would make immigrants permanent second-class citizens and create undue hardships along a pathway to citizenship.
Every day we fail to reform our system, 1,100 families are torn apart. As a nation, we pride ourselves on keeping families united, and our immigration policies should reflect our commitment to keep families together – all families.
We stand firmly that the following principles must be included if we are to truly have comprehensive immigration reform legislation:
- Provide a pathway to citizenship;
- Ensure that family unity is at the heart of immigration law and policy;
- End unjust detentions and deportations;
- Uphold labor and employment standards, and ensure that the enforcement of immigration law does not undermine labor and employment rights;
- Promote a dignified quality of life for border communities by ensuring border agencies uphold basic civil and human rights protections; and
- Ensure immigrant members of our community are not relegated to second-class status with fewer rights and benefits.
Task Force expresses disappointment in Senate Judiciary Committee’s failure to consider protections for same-sex binational couples in immigration reform bill
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force expressed deep disappointment in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s failure to consider protections for same-sex binational couples as part of the comprehensive immigration reform bill. The bill S. 744 was passed out of committee today by a 13-5 vote.
Statement by Rea Carey, executive director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:
We remain steadfast in our commitment to passing immigration reform that provides a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented men, women and children living in our country, including at least 267,000 LGBT undocumented immigrants.
We are deeply disappointed that the Senate Judiciary Committee has chosen not to consider protections for same-sex binational couples as part of the comprehensive immigration reform bill. In a nation where the majority of Americans supports the freedom to marry, we are outraged by statements made by certain senators who voiced their concerns about including same-sex binational couples as part of the overall reform effort. Their disdain for a provision that would include more American families in immigration reform is out of step with the values held by people across this country.
The bill does currently address issues that will particularly benefit LGBT people, such as providing protections for undocumented youth including DREAMers, eliminating the one-year bar on applying for asylum, improving conditions for people held in detention facilities, protections limiting the use of solitary confinement and explicitly prohibiting the use of this practice based solely on detainees’ sexual orientation or gender identity.
As the legislative process moves forward, we must collectively strengthen our resolve to push for the best bill possible for LGBT undocumented immigrants and their families. Comprehensive, compassionate immigration reform is an urgent priority for our nation and the LGBT community, and our immigration policies should reflect our nation’s commitment to keeping families together — all families.
LGBT rights are advancing in Puerto Rico as a consequence of decades of activism and a change in government last November. This week will be crucial and historic, with the House set to vote on a sweeping nondiscrimination measure and a bill for same sex-couples to be protected under the domestic violence law.
Last week in a 15-11 vote, the Puerto Rican Senate approved the nondiscrimination bill that protects LGBT people in employment, housing, public accommodations, governmental services and private entities. The House is slated to take up the bill on Thursday.
Also, a bill to amend the domestic violence law in Puerto Rico to include protections based on sexual orientation, gender identity and marital status will also be voted on by the House and the Senate this week. Gov. Alejandro García Padilla has vowed to sign both into laws.
In Puerto Rico, the LGBT community has come a long way. From having more than 40 LGBT people murdered in the past 10 years to the passage in the Senate last week of the nondiscrimination bill. From the Puerto Rican Supreme Court denying adoption to same-sex couples to a Senate hearing last Friday on a bill that will allow it. From an ugly and massive opposition from the fundamentalists religious groups to the overwhelming support of the Puerto Rican people (80 percent of the testimonies in the hearings were pro-LGBT and 70 percent of Puerto Ricans favor equal rights for LGBT people according to the latest poll), including a march in which thousands filled the San Juan streets.
The Task Force has been at the forefront of this struggle for the past seven years, including speaking out against hate crimes and anti-LGBT violence; standing in solidarity with the Puerto Rican LGBT community; meeting with Congressman Luis Gutierrez to ask for support in this struggle against anti-LGBT violence; and the Task Force’s National Religious Leadership Roundtable convening in Puerto Rico to express support.
The truth is that the Task Force has been involved in the struggle in Puerto Rico for the past seven years and we will continue to be there until we achieve full equality for the Puerto Rican LGBT community. We’re on the brink of making history.