Ricky Martin Wades Into Religious Liberty Debate In Puerto Rico

Ricky Martin weighed in on the fierce debate in Puerto Rico over a bill allowing government employees to avoid serving certain constituents on religious grounds ― and soon after, the island’s governor decided to kill the measure. 

The singer, who was born in Puerto Rico, published an open letter on Thursday denouncing the measure as a “hate bill” that “projects us to the world as a backwards country.” 

“As a defender of human rights and a member of the LGBTT community, I am vehemently opposed to the proposed measure imposed upon us under the guise of religious freedom,” Martin wrote in a statement on his site.

The same day, Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced that he was asking legislators to drop the bill, tweeting in Spanish that “instead of reaching a consensus on a basis of mutual respect, it provokes the division of our people.” 

The pop star Ricky Martin was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives approved the measure, known as House Bill 2069, on Tuesday. The legislation would have established “reasonable accommodations” for government employees who do not want to serve certain constituents if they believed it would clash with their religious convictions. Supporters claimed this protected government employees’ religious freedom. Rosselló initially endorsed the bill.

LGBTQ activists in Puerto Rico and their allies argued that the bill would give government employees a “license to hate.” Island senator Zoe Laboy promised Thursday to submit a “negative report” about the bill to her colleagues.

Three U.S. Democratic presidential candidates — Julián Castro, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders — also voiced their disapproval. 

After hearing that Rosselló had dropped his support for the bill, Martin posted a celebratory statement on his website. 

“We will never be an accomplice to policies that alienate our community and violate our rights. Authentic religious freedom aims to unite communities of different backgrounds,” he wrote. 

“We must stay vigilant about assaults on hard-won rights and social gains.”

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Ricky at 13 when in 1984 he joined Menudo for five years.
At 13 years old, when in 1984 he joined the Menudo group for five years.
Singing with Menudo in 1984.
Ricky Martin posing next to Robi 'Draco' Rosa, holding a couple of stuffed animals.
Ricky in Menudo, 1986.
Ricky Martin in Menudo, circa 1988.
In his hotel room during a 1988 tour while being part of the musical group sensation Menudo.
With his Menudo friends.
Having fun in Disney in 1990.
Here with Mickey Mouse and Donald.
With Menudo in the late 80s, well coordinated with denim!
Here very handsome!
Singing and dancing with Menudo.
Here Ricky already a teenager with cowboy boots and a lot of leather.
With Mexican actress Angélica Vale.
Ricky Martin living in México in 1990.
Ricky Martin moved to Mexico in 1991 to participate in the telenovela "Alcanzar una estrella II", working next to actors like Angélica Rivera, Bibi Gaytan, Alex Ibarra, Pedro Fernandez and Sasha Sokol (right), with whom he also formed the musical group "Muñecos de papel."
Ricky Martin with Angelica Rivera when he stared in "Alcanzar una Estrella" in 1991.
Ricky Martin in 1991 while starring in his role in the Mexican telenovela "Alcanzar una estrella II".
Ricky Martin and Bibi Gaytán, as part of the "Muñecos de Papel" musical group.
Ricky Martin with his ponytail look in México in 1992.
Ricky Martin with long hair in 1994.
Ricky Martin presents his album "A medio vivir" in 1995, the year he would conquer the charts with his single "Maria".
Ricky Martin with a different hair style at an autograph signing in 1996.
Ricky Martin in Paris in 1997.
Ricky Martin in March, 1998.
Ricky Martin released his album "Vuelve", where he recorded the 1998 World Cup France single "The Cup of Life."
Ricky Martin in july 1998 singing in the World Cup during Brazil's final match against France.
Ricky Martin during his memorable performance at the 1999 Grammy Awards.
Ricky Martin with his Grammy Award for "Vuelve" on February 24, 1999 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
Ricky Martin, Celine Dion y Tony Mottola at pre-Oscar party.
Ricky Martin in 1999, already an international artist.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.