Sunday, December 4, 2011

Puerto Rico Lawmakers Move to Remove LGBTs from Hate Crimes Law

Puerto Rican lawmakers are poised to vote on a revised penal code this week that could eliminate LGBT-specific categories from the island’s hate crimes law.

The Puerto Rico Senate late last month approved a provision that would eliminate sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, ethnicity and religion from the current statute—political status, age and disability would remain. The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the amended penal code during a special legislative session.

Representative Héctor Ferrer, Sen. Eduardo Bhatia and LGBT and Dominican activists blasted the proposed provisions earlier on Sunday, Dec. 4.

“It’s an outrage and now we’re calling upon the House to restore this to where it should be,” said Pedro Julio Serrano of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

Nearly two dozen LGBT Puerto Ricans have been murdered on the island since gay teenager Jorge Steven López Mercado was stabbed to death before his decapitated, dismembered and partially burned body was found along a remote roadside near Cayey in Nov. 2009. The Justice Department noted a lack of prosecution under the island's hate crimes law in damning report on the Puerto Rico Police Department it issued in September.


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How could this happen?

And why?

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