Yesterday, Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives passed a “Freedom Bill” that would, in essence, pose damaging consequences for the LGBTQ community. However, because the bill was so discriminatory, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló put an end to it. He also had the advice of some very influential people including singer Ricky Martin and Latin trap rapper Bad Bunny.
The mess began when Representative María Milagros Charbonier of the New Progressive Party first presented the bill under the mask that it would promote religious freedom. When the representatives voted to approve it, she continuously said that it was not a discriminatory law. One of the factors of the bill called to ban “conversion therapy for minors,” the Washington Blade reports. While that may seem positive, the bill would allow conversion therapy if it was done by “churches and their institutions, members of the clergy and their religious advisors who are acting strictly within their pastoral or religious capacity in the exercise of their fundamental right to religious freedom.”
Several people spoke out against the bill. Martin wrote a letter to Gov. Rosselló. He also said on Twitter, “The House Bill 2069, filed at the request of Governor Ricardo Rosselló and promoted by Representative Charbonier, is nothing more than opening the door to hatred towards anyone who does not share the same ideology, who belongs to the LGBTT community, or that is not even the same skin color, among so many other discriminatory manifestations.”
o que incluso no sea del mismo color de piel, entre tantas otras manifestaciones discriminatorias.
La libertad religiosa implica respetar al otro de la misma manera que respetamos a los demás.
— Ricky Martin (@ricky_martin) June 12, 2019
Rapper Bad Bunny also had some words about the bill. He posted an Instagram directed at Gov. Rosselló, saying “While we ‘bad guys’ do our best to unite people and spread a message of respect and tolerance, the rulers of my country do the opposite. We can’t take steps backward, NEVER! @ricardorossello you prepare excellent coffee, I know that you can still make an excellent decision.” The Puerto Rican artist ended up deleting the post, but Remezcla has the screenshots.
Presidential candidates including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Julián Castro all voiced their opposition of the bill. Castro tweeted: “The Puerto Rican House of Representatives has passed a bill under the guise of religious freedom that would allow for discrimination against LGBTQ residents. We must defeat this bill — and work to end discrimination, rather than give it shelter.”
Gov. Rosselló ended up listening to the majority and ended up vetoing the bill. “My intention has always been to promote mutual respect between different segments of our society,” said Rosselló in his statement. “That is why I always said that I would sign both bills or none of them.”