Ricky Martin Wades Into Religious Liberty Debate In Puerto Rico

After the pop star denounced a bill allowing government employees to avoid serving certain constituents, Puerto Rico's governor withdrew his support of it.

Ricky Martin weighed in on the fierce debate in Puerto Rico over a bill allowing government employees to avoid serving certain constituents on religious grounds ― and soon after, the island’s governor decided to kill the measure.

The singer, who was born in Puerto Rico, published an open letter on Thursday denouncing the measure as a “hate bill” that “projects us to the world as a backwards country.”

“As a defender of human rights and a member of the LGBTT community, I am vehemently opposed to the proposed measure imposed upon us under the guise of religious freedom,” Martin wrote in a statement on his site.

The same day, Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced that he was asking legislators to drop the bill, tweeting in Spanish that “instead of reaching a consensus on a basis of mutual respect, it provokes the division of our people.”

The pop star Ricky Martin was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The pop star Ricky Martin was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives approved the measure, known as House Bill 2069, on Tuesday. The legislation would have established “reasonable accommodations” for government employees who do not want to serve certain constituents if they believed it would clash with their religious convictions. Supporters claimed this protected government employees’ religious freedom. Rosselló initially endorsed the bill.

LGBTQ activists in Puerto Rico and their allies argued that the bill would give government employees a “license to hate.” Island senator Zoe Laboy promised Thursday to submit a “negative report” about the bill to her colleagues.

Three U.S. Democratic presidential candidates — Julián Castro, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders — also voiced their disapproval.

After hearing that Rosselló had dropped his support for the bill, Martin posted a celebratory statement on his website.

“We will never be an accomplice to policies that alienate our community and violate our rights. Authentic religious freedom aims to unite communities of different backgrounds,” he wrote.

“We must stay vigilant about assaults on hard-won rights and social gains.”

Go To Homepage

Before You Go

Ricky Martin's Early Years

Popular in the Community