The Puerto Rico senate voted Monday to approve a new penal code that would void the long-standing sodomy law, known as Article 103, and criminalize acts of sodomy only if they are nonconsensual, as outlined under Article 142. The house of representatives still has to approve its version of the penal code before the measure can be signed into law. The new penal code was drafted by a legislative committee over the last two years. The vote followed a surprising turnaround late last week, when the senate's majority speaker told the Puerto Rican press that Article 103 was "unenforceable."
Monday's vote and the expected U. S. Supreme Court ruling in the Texas sodomy case are likely to increase pressure on the Puerto Rico house of representatives to adopt similar language in its version of the penal code, which should be approved in the fall. Many gay rights activists are encouraged by the fact that the vote came before the U.S. Supreme Court released its ruling.