Puerto Rico to have new hate crime laws to protect gays

Outgoing Secretary of Justice promises new rules and new Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla pledges to tackle anti-gay violence

Puerto Rico to have new hate crime laws to protect gays
01 January 2013

Puerto Rico’s LGBT community may be a step closer to being protected from killings, assaults and other hate crimes.

The departing Secretary of Justice, Guillermo Somoza has said new rules would be put in place for hate crimes and said these result from meetings with LGBT groups in recent years.

At least 18 members of the gay, bi and trans community were murdered in 2010 and 2011 alone on the archipelago that is a territory but not a state of the US.

The new rules proposed by Somoza will define what counts as a hate crime and tell investigators how to identify evidence.

But Pedro Julio Serrano, from the US-based National Gay and Lesbian Task Force said outgoing Governor Luis Fortuño should have acted before and this was ‘too little, too late’.

‘We’ve been trying to get this protocol in place for over three years and finally, in the last month of their tenure, they finally unveil it,’ Serrano said.

But the greater hope of change stem not from the last-minute actions of the departing Fortuño administration but from his successor.

Governor-elect Alejandro Garcia Padilla beat Fortuño in the elections in November and has pleged to combat anti-LGBT violence in his coming term.

He will be sworn in on 2 January.

Speaking before the election Padilla promised the LGBT community to fight injustices. And he even paraphrased Harvey Milk, the first openly gay official in the US – whose life and death were made into the biopic Milk.

Speaking in Spanish he said: ‘My name is Alejandro Garcia Padilla. And I’m here to recruit you.’

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Watch: Stories of young LGBTI people in Asia

Seven young LGBTI filmmakers in Cambodia, Thailand, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Nepal and Singapore have been selected to produce a short story about their thoughts and experiences about being LGBTI where they live 
No thumbnail available

Gay Commons speaker Nigel Evans arrested for further sex assaults

UK's House of Commons Deputy Speaker and not yet been charged and has denied all previous allegations so far
No thumbnail available

See what gay activists did to London's Dolce and Gabbana store today

Protestors from around the world gathered to call for a boycott against the brand
No thumbnail available

Patrick Stewart clarifies support for anti-gay-marriage bakery

The long-time LGBTI ally says he supports the bakers' 'freedom to object' although he does not share their beliefs
No thumbnail available

Fourth judge rules that Florida's gay marriage ban violates US constitution

Judge in Palm Beach County case rules state cannot stop man from inheriting late husband's estate
No thumbnail available

Thousands turn out for murdered lesbian police officer's funeral

Tributes have poured in for PC Fiona Bone, who was planning her civil partnership to girlfriend Clare 
No thumbnail available

Time to celebrate the LGBT pride season with Travelex and GSN!

It will soon be that time of year again when rainbow flags will line the streets of the UK and beyond to celebrate the LGBT community and their friends
No thumbnail available

Appeals court knocks back Kansas' attempt to maintain same-sex marriage ban

The 10th Circuit appeals court has rebuffed the latest attempt by the state of Kansas to stop gay people from getting hitched
No thumbnail available

Liberace's former boyfriend will not go to the Emmys

Scott Thorson, Liberace's ex-lover, has no problem not being in Hollywood to attend the Emmys
REVIEW: Vilaine Fille/Mauvais Garcon – Mons, Belgium

REVIEW: Vilaine Fille/Mauvais Garcon – Mons, Belgium

Stylish cuisine in Europe's capital of culture