puerto rico flagPost submitted by David McCabe, HRC Digital Media Intern

The Governor of Puerto Rico, Alejandro García Padilla, signed two bills into law yesterday that expand protections against LGBT discrimination and add language regarding sexual orientation as well as gender identity and expression to the territory's domestic violence laws.

One of the bills protects LGBT individuals from employment discrimination.  The other, introduced in the House, added sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to domestic violence laws. Prior to the bills' passage, the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capitol, signed orders that instructed the city’s police department to apply domestic violence laws equally regardless of a victim’s sexual orientation and banned discrimination against LGBT municipal employees. Both bills passed on Monday.

"I can serve God without having to discriminate against anyone," one lawmaker said while discussing the bills, according to the Washington Blade.

Padilla has voiced his support for LGBT equality in the past and supports granting second-part adoption rights to same-sex couples in the U.S. territory. Another high profile proponant of the laws was gay Puerto Rican musical artist Ricky Martin, who wrote an open letter to lawmakers asking for their support.

Though the bills faced opposition from some in the legislature and in the clergy, there was no hint of that in the Governor’s statements as he signed them into law. “Today is a great day for Puerto Rico,” the Blade quotes Padilla as tweeting. “I feel that I have fulfilled my duty as a Christian to sign these laws.”

Filed under: International, Workplace

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