Over 200,000 “Stand Up” Against Gay Rights In Puerto Rico

pr-protestIn the Puerto Rican capital of San Juan on Monday, over 200,000 Christians gathered as part of “Puerto Rico Stands Up”, one of the largest “pro-family” demonstrations held on the U.S. commonwealth.

The protestors organized in front of the Capitol building, blocking traffic in and out of the area, while blasting gospel music and brandishing banners defending so-called traditional marriage. They were also denouncing proposed legislation seeking to grant rights to gay couples.

Cesar Vazquez Muñiz, spokesman of Puerto Rico for the Family — the organization behind the rally — explained that their purpose was to protect traditional marriage and family values for the sake of, of course, the children.

“We are concerned that laws will be created to discriminate against the church… We are concerned that public education will be used to change our children, presenting them with behaviors their parents don’t think are correct,” Vazquez told the Puerto Rican daily, El Vocero. “This demonstration tells the government that there are things that they cannot touch and those are marriage and family.”

Nearby, a smaller counter protest was going on in favor of gay rights, held by religious leaders and followers who refuted Puerto Rico Stands Up’s faith-based bigotry.

“One of the struggles I’ve had with the church is its sexist and homophobic message, and obviously when I see that they are using the resources they have to promote discrimination I cannot stay quiet because that is not the message of God,” Pastor Yenen Silén told Univision.

The island’s newly elected governor Alejandro García Padilla held a press conference in which he stated that his government “is a government of inclusion” but reaffirmed his opposition to gay marriage.

“I favor the Law 54 which protects domestic partnership… As for marriage, I do not agree that it should be anything except between man and woman.,” he said. “But the rights that are guaranteed to people are those we have to look for and secure for all human beings.”

The Puerto Rican legislature is currently reviewing an amendment to the Domestic Violence Act, Law 54, that would protect all couples, regardless of marital status or sexual orientation, while the House of Representatives is working on a workplace non-discrimination bill.

Photo: Dennis A. Jones/El Vocero

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  • Dakotahgeo

    And more than likely, the majority of those 200,000 are the ones that applaud the sexcapes of the Catholic church and their fauning over little boys and girls. Y’all just keep having those babies, Catholic moms, and “we’ll take care of them” in 6-7 years, yesiree! The arrogance of the majority is astonishing but very noticeable. Thank you to the Catholic hierarchy for all you’ve done “to,” (not for) the children!

  • Dakotahgeo

    @Dakotahgeo: Typo: “fawning”*

  • andy_d

    NOT the thing to do when petitioning for statehood. I know I wouldn’t want a state with 200,000 KNOWN haters who blindly follow a doctrine that denies human rights. It may be a good idea to start contacting Congress to let Puerto Rico’s homophobic Governor and citizens know that any application for statehood will be DENIED unless they respect EVERYBODY’S rights!

  • PJ

    Ah, my beloved island. And to think people I know where there. They claim they showed majority ruled this past Monday. We all know majority is always right… Right? The Nazis for example come to mind.

  • jwrappaport

    I like the island Manhattan
    Smoke on your pipe,
    and put that in

  • Kieran

    Puerto Rico is one of the few places on earth today that is STILL A COLONY. How about “Stand-Up” for your national independence and dignity Puerto Ricans?

    Not a country, not a state….puerto rico, what the hell are you?

  • jwrappaport

    @Kieran: I don’t know where to begin. First, it’s a commonwealth. The term, as it’s used by the US, does not presuppose any kind of imperial subjugation, as would be the case between a colony and its mother country. The basic idea is that they are a dependent territory of the United States and have many of the trappings of statehood, but do not have to pay income tax. In short, they get the benefits of being part of the US without a lot of the costs.

    Second, they don’t want independence. It is a wildly unpopular movement, with most favoring commonwealth or state status. Look at the last election: a majority actually favor a connection with the US. You should talk with the Puerto Rican side of my family: They love their passports, greenbacks, and stability that being part of the US brings. They absolutely do not want independence by and large.

  • jwrappaport

    @Kieran: I also have to say how incredibly patronizing and uninformed your comment was. PR has plenty of dignity and culture, which doesn’t require formal independence. Seriously, Wiki is amazing – check out the PR-related pages sometime.

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