Puerto Rico Senate Approves Sweeping Antidiscrimination Bill

The bill would ban anti-LGBT discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations and government services.

BY Sunnivie Brydum

May 17 2013 6:16 PM ET

The Puerto Rican Senate approved far-reaching antidiscrimination legislation on Thursday, that would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in housing, employment, public accommodations and government services, reports the Washington Blade The bill now goes to the Puerto Rico House of Representatives. 

The Senate voted to approve Senate Bill 238 by a vote of 15-11 after several hours of debate. 

Native Puerto Rican and out gay father Ricky Martin penned an impassioned plea for his home island to respect the LGBT community earlier this month. 

"The same rights for each and every citizen of Puerto Rico is what we're asking for, and that's what we hope to achieve — we want justice and peace," wrote Martin in Spanish in a press release on his blog. "Puerto Rico must join the countries of the world that are at the forefront in human rights and equality." 

Thursday's vote comes on the heels of a mandate from San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz that the capitol city's police department provide equal protection and access to domestic violence support to all citizens, regardless of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, reports the Blade. In February, the Puerto Rican Supreme Court narrowly upheld the U.S. territory's ban on adoption by gay and lesbian couples.

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