By: Juan C. Torres Escribano
The LGBTT community in Puerto Rico is making many efforts to obtain equal treatment by legal terms. Since the statute that limited marriage to heterosexual couples only, the LGBTT community has been defeated in some battles while in others it emerges victorious.
In Puerto Rico, same sex marriage is currently prohibited by law. The Civil Code states that “marriage is a contract in which a man and a woman mutually agree to be husband and wife,” as signed by former Governor, Pedro Rosselló on March 19 1999. That leaves same – sex couples out of the picture and also they don’t acknowledge same – sex marriage from other jurisdictions.
When same – sex couples decide to adopt, the Civil Code’s article 138 won’t let them. Currently a woman tried to adopt the child that her partner gave birth to by in vitro fertilization and the request was denied due to them being a lesbian couple.
There have been many struggles in the LGBTT community but when they fight for their rights occasionally they win in some cases. One of those cases was when same sex sexual activities were legalized in 2003, finally giving a pleasant win to the LGBTT community. “A decade ago, we were criminals under a sodomy law. Today, we’re second-class citizens,” said Pedro Julio Serrano to the Huffington Post in an interview.
As discrimination always surges, an anti – discrimination bill was successfully made into a law after Gov. Alejandro García Padilla signed it on May 2013 after being the subject of much controversy. The bill states that any discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing, governmental services, public accommodations, and private entities, is completely prohibited.
On 2003 a group called “Puerto Rico para Tod@s” is founded by Pedro Julio Serrano as a nonprofit organization in order to fight for equal rights for the LGBTT community. The purposes of this organization are to teach and educate people about social justice, prejudice and inclusion, and also to advocate for the creation of laws and projects that strengthen the social justice for all the people.
To light up the mood of the LGBTT community, the first Gay Pride parade was held in 1991. This march continues as a tradition in which people from the LGBTT community and whoever wants to participate, gather in a friendly environment in which they enjoy different festivities.
The LGBTT community still has a long way to go. As always history repeats itself but sometimes in another concept. For future generations this fight for equality will look to them like what women rights, racism, and marriage of different ethnicity look like this generation. Only time will tell.