International lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates are praising Puerto Rico's decision to advance "sweeping" nondiscrimination measures.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's blog reports that the Puerto Rican House of Representatives approved the bills May 24, which protect LGBT people in employment, housing, governmental services and public accommodations, as well as add sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to the island’s domestic violence laws, respectively.
Anti-discrimination bill SB 238 and HB 488, the domestic violence measure, now move to Gov. Alejandro García Padilla, who has vowed to sign them into law, according to the Washington Blade.
"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," the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's Executive Director Rea Carey said in a statement. "Nonetheless, this community has continued to stand strong in the face of adversity and today can celebrate this glorious victory."
Among those to support the bill beforehand was Ricky Martin.
"The same rights for each and every citizen of Puerto Rico, that's what we are asking and that's what we hope to achieve, the country's justice and peace that we want to achieve," the singer said in a statement cited by E! Online. "Puerto Rico has to join all the countries in the world that are at the forefront of the issue of human rights and equality."