Target: Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla
Goal: Commend Garcia for protecting the LGBT community from employment discrimination and domestic violence.
Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla recently signed into law two crucial gay rights bills following an intense national debate and stalwart opposition from right-wing religious groups. The first bill that Garcia signed prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation, while the second amends an existing domestic violence law to extend legal protection to gay couples. Leading up to the the bills’ passage, Garcia made strenuous efforts to win over members of his own party, the Popular Democratic Party, which controls both houses of Puerto Rico’s legislature. As the island is mostly religious and relatively conservative, it took a great deal of courage and perseverance to win this legal fight.
Only about half of US states have in place discrimination laws similar to the one passed by Governor Garcia, and many do not apply domestic violence laws to gay couples. While popular momentum in favor of same-sex marriage and other gay rights goals has been building rapidly in US states, it is inspiring for Puerto Rico to also make progress on such important issues. Thanks to Governor Garcia and the legislature of the territory, Puerto Rico will not remain mired in the past for long. This example is especially important given the stalled status of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in the US Congress (the bill would be the functional equivalent of the anti-discrimination law Puerto Rico has just adopted).
Only a decade ago, gays and lesbians in the US territory of Puerto Rico were criminals under sodomy laws; today, thanks to the Puerto Rico legislature and Governor Garcia, gay Puerto Ricans are one step closer to full legal equality. In Garcia’s words, we have “a social obligation, a historic obligation and also a Christian obligation to fight all types of discrimination.” While this is not the end of the struggle, it is an important step in the right direction and serves as an excellent example to the rest of Americans. Please sign the petition below to applaud Governor Garcia for signing these progressive bills into law and for embracing such an important civil rights movement.
Dear Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla,
I would like to commend you for signing two important civil rights bills recently that dealt with equal legal protection for gays in Puerto Rico. You have done a great service to all Puerto Ricans, a fact of which you should be proud. Thank you for setting an excellent example to your stateside countrymen as a similar anti-discrimination law languishes in the bureaucratic bowels of the US Congress. While the battle for equality is not yet completed, you and your legislative counterparts have done the island of Puerto Rico proud and have moved the island in the right direction.
I wish you the best of luck and thank you again for helping to move forward civil rights and equal protection for all.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: nicholaslaughlin via Flickr