Puerto Rico may reconsider antigay ruling

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com April 30 2003 12:00 AM ET

After deeming it a mistaken ruling, the government of Puerto Rico has filed a motion for a reconsideration of a Puerto Rico supreme court ruling to exclude same-sex couples from benefiting
from Law 54, which pertains to domestic violence. In a 20-page document, the General Advocate's Office objected to the analysis made by the court regarding the law text and the application of the legal principle to cases as well as the constitutional implications of the judicial ruling.

"The court use of legislative intention as a tool to interpret this case is mistaken," reads the legal motion, arguing that if the legislative intention was to exclude people from the law, it would have said so. In addition, it says that regardless of the social value ascribed to the law, there is an undisputable social reality of thousands of Puerto Ricans who form same-sex couples and as such form a consensual relationship under any reasonable definition.

According to the government's interpretation of Law 54, it should include any victim of domestic violence regardless of the person's sex. "Law 54 is neutral," the motion reads. "In reality, the law has nothing to do with homosexuals, lesbians, or heterosexuals but with the physical and emotional pain suffered when they are subjected to abuse by people with whom they are having an intimate consensual relation."

The government is warning the supreme court that should its ruling be sustained, it should make sure its opinion can survive challenges of a constitutional nature. "It could be argued that the ruling is based on a sex classification," reads the document.