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Puerto Rico

Religious groups protest Puerto Rico’s new gay rights, gender bills

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Religious groups gathered Wednesday in front of Puerto Rico’s seaside capitol to protest proposed laws that would allow same-sex couples to adopt children and would establish a public school curriculum examining gender issues including sexual discrimination.

One of the island’s largest Christian organizations, Puerto Rico Pro Family, said it would seek two constitutional amendments to limit marriage to heterosexual couples and to award parents the sole right to educate their children on gender matters.

“There are certain issues that are non-negotiable,” said Dr. Cesar Vazquez Muniz, spokesman of Puerto Rico Pro Family. “The problem is that they are trying to change the values of this country.”

Legislators currently are holding public hearings on the bills and are expected to debate them soon as the U.S. territory pushes for expanded gay rights amid heavy opposition from religious groups.

Sen. Maria Gonzalez Lopez, who filed both bills earlier this year, told The Associated Press that children should not be discriminated against and that prohibiting same-sex couples from adopting has economic, emotional and psychological consequences.

“It’s imperative that this legislative assembly recognize and not deny existing families their rights,” the bill states. “People’s lifestyles are moving further away each time from the concept of a traditional family nucleus.”

The bill was filed after the island’s Supreme Court in February voted 5-4 to uphold a local law banning adoptions by same-sex parents. The decision was unsuccessfully appealed by a Puerto Rican woman who has sought for nearly a decade to adopt a 12-year-old girl whom her partner of more than 20 years gave birth to through in vitro fertilization.

The judges had said it was up to legislators to change the adoption law if they saw fit.

The other bill that Gonzalez submitted calls on public schools to tea ch a curriculum that aims to promote gender equality and curb the island’s domestic violence problem.

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While the island’s education secretary has said he supports the measure, he warned that the department needs more funds and additional resources to create such a curriculum. Other officials have asked that penalties be established for schools that don’t comply.

Opponents of the measure say only parents should teach their children about such matters.

“The state is interfering with that right,” Vazquez said.

If the bills are approved, it would further establish Puerto Rico as a relatively gay-friendly island in a region where sodomy laws are enforced and harassment of gays is still common.

In late May, legislators approved a bill that outlaws employment discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation. While most local government agencies already have anti-discriminatory policies, human rights activists say they are often not enforced.

Lawmakers earlier this year also approved a separate bill that extends a domestic violence law to gay couples.

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34 more reader comments:

  1. shame

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 7:14pm
  2. Dah… Didn´t need a headline to tell me that.. Religious idiots always whine and cry when others don´t do as they say…It only makes us laugh at them even more :)

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 7:16pm
  3. the protesters are idiots think about it they have no real valid reason to protest they are sheep following what some church tells them

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 7:17pm
  4. just be careful laughing… they can be dangerous. just saying… hugz!

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 7:19pm
  5. Eh… Religious freedom? Should we take that away then?…

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 7:21pm
  6. Fuck em!

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 7:23pm
  7. And not in a nice passionate way.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 7:23pm
  8. Shame on them! Gay people have rights!

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 7:23pm
  9. And we protest against then even louder and keep winning

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 7:24pm
  10. Whine whine whine bitch bitch bitch….. they can´t stop history anyway.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 7:26pm
  11. religious organizations protested and killed science-men who said the world´s shape was not straight. :d

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 7:27pm
  12. Remember that there are just as many religious voices that support LGBTQ rights!

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 7:30pm
  13. BIGOTRY and HATE IN THE NAME OF RELIGION AND GOD!!!!!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 7:33pm
  14. Like for the steps forward.
    I need a cringe button for the rest.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 7:34pm
  15. since when did the sexuality of two consenting adults become a moral issue? Answer: it is the most basic of human emotions, when you control that you control the rest. the so called moral institutions are so full of it!

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 7:35pm
  16. This is why I hate religion. #

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 7:41pm
  17. Shame!

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 7:51pm
  18. It is not religion; it is bigoted Churches that hate.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 8:00pm
  19. There they go again. PUSHING their bigoted religious beliefs onto others without their permission.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 8:10pm
  20. they can believe anything they choose..but they can´t impose their beliefs on everyone.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 8:12pm
  21. Religious groups protest Puerto Rico’s new gay rights, gender bills AND, YOUR POINT? Is anyone surprised?

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 8:16pm
  22. Don´t like it move to Russia. There are also quite a few African nations and Islamic nations that might interest you. Otherwise get over yourself. The world does not revolve around you.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 8:18pm
  23. And what money do these religious groups provde to keep Puerto Rico alive?The church doesn´t contribute to society we do and we have less rights.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 8:51pm
  24. Puerto Rico is very gay friendly compare to other countries. This is not news it happens everywhere.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 8:51pm
  25. LOL Gotta love the haters. *can´t stop laughing*

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 9:05pm
  26. Fuck them, their religion has no business interfering with Secular Laws.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 9:12pm
  27. Way to go Puerto Rico

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 9:13pm
  28. So religious groups hate happiness, love and tolerance? Wow.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 10:15pm
  29. religion makes nuts

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 10:21pm
  30. Using religion to hate other people is a sin!

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 11:19pm
  31. Hypocrisy!

    Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 11:19pm
  32. Why do religious groups believe Moses over Jesus Christ?

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 1:13am
  33. William–Why would they believe either one of them?

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 3:01am
  34. Thanks, Jesus People, for all the hate you spread so freely. It sure makes me want to be a “Christian”!

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 3:03am