A ‘Religious Freedoms’ bill passed by the House of Representatives in Puerto Rico Tuesday will not proceed. Following the passing, the King of Latin Pop, Ricky Martin, intervened with an open letter condemning the measure. The Governor of Puerto Rico then asked legislators to halt the bill.
The legislation allowed discrimination against LGBTIQ people for their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Known as HB 2069, the bill allowed people to discriminate based on their religious belief.
However, in an open letter published Thursday, Ricky Martin denounced HB 2069.
King of Latin Pop issues veto
“While the world calls for equality, respect for diversity and the defence of human rights, the Senate, House of Representatives and Governor of Puerto Rico are pushing for a measure that goes against all of the above…
“It encourages division, prejudice, hatred and the lack of respect for individuality.
Further, Ricky Martin said the bill undermined constitutional protections against discrimination.
“And in its place, justifies an irrational protection of the religious convictions of government employees.
“House Bill 2069… achieve[s] nothing more than opening the doors to hatred towards anyone who doesn’t share the same ideology, who simply belong to the LGBTT community, or who don’t have the same colour skin, amidst many other discriminatory measures.”
Following the intervention of Puerto Rico’s most famous son, and one of the world’s most celebrated gay icons, Governor Ricardo Rosselló had a change of heart.
He posted on Twitter.
“Respect for the dignity of the human being and the protection of the rights that assist all citizens is a responsibility that I assume as governor.”
Further, he himself denounced the legislation.
“Since instead of reaching a consensus on a basis of mutual respect, it provokes the division of our people.”
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Australia’s ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill
Here in Australia, the government plans to soon introduce a similar bill.
Attorney-General Christian Porter claims the proposed bill will “follow the basic architecture of discrimination bills” by defining religion as a “protected attribute.”
However, conservative members of the coalition government began a push after the recent election for a broader bill.
Former deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said, “You can’t bring people’s faith beliefs into a contract.”
Furthermore, Liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, a high-profile marriage equality opponent, described recent events as a ‘new dawn’.
“I believe that the recent election has reinforced the need for more immediate legislative action,” she told the newspapers.
“It’s a new dawn on this issue.”
It appears some conservative politicians sense an opportunity to revisit the marriage equality debate, resoundingly decided by a vote of the Australian people.
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