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.”
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.
The Puerto Rican House of Representatives has passed a bill under the guise of religious freedom that would allow for discrimination against LGBTQ residents. We must defeat this bill—and work to end discrimination, rather than give it shelter. https://t.co/PhiBdfiXmx