The governor of Puerto Rico signed bills into law on Wednesday (29 May) that protect LGBT people against discrimination and adds to the country’s domestic violence law protections for sexual orientation, marital status and gender identity.
Governor Alejandro GarcÃa Padilla signed the legislation at his official residence in San Juan and issued a statement via Twitter: ‘The dignity of being a human being is inviolable because we are all the same and we must be equal under the law.’
He added: ‘Today is a great day for Puerto Rico. I feel that I have fulfilled my duty as a Christian to sign these laws.’
It was last week that the Puerto Rican House of Representatives approved the sweeping nondiscrimination bill that protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in employment, housing, governmental services, public accommodations and private entities.
The Senate has already approved the bill but on Monday (27 May), voted on a modified version of it that removed banning discrimination in commercial transactions, property rentals, public transportation and other circumstances.
It was those clauses that were drawing heavy opposition from religious groups, according to the Associated Press.
The law goes into effect as similar legislation – the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) – remains stalled in the US Congress.