Puerto Rican artists denounced a bill that would “open the doors of hatred”
A proposed “religious liberty” bill was shelved by Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rossello after it was bitterly criticized by celebrities who slammed the legislation for creating “division, prejudice, hatred and lack of respect for individuality.”
“While the world calls for equality, respect for diversity and the defense of human rights, members of the Senate and the House of Representatives and the Governor of Puerto Rico are pushing for a measure that goes against all of the above,” singer Ricky Martin shared in an open letter published on his site Thursday, criticizing the proposed “religious liberty” bill.
The “discriminatory” bill would allow government employees to not have to serve constituents if they believe it goes against their religious beliefs.
On Tuesday, the island’s House of Representatives voted in favor of the bill, which had been instigated by Rossello, causing an uproar on the island.
“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.
It wasn’t long after the publication of Martin’s letter that Rosselló took to Twitter to reverse his support of the bill, and asked legislators to shelve it - a move which many speculate was prompted by Martin and other prominent Boricua artists.
"Instead of reaching a consensus on a basis of mutual respect, it provokes the division of our people," read Rosselló’s tweet translated from Spanish.
Al ser proyectos de administración, luego de conversado con ambos Presidentes, y la Representante @TATACHARBONIER, solicito que ambos proyectos sean retirados, ya que en lugar de lograr un consenso sobre una base de mutuo respeto, provoca la división de nuestro pueblo.
— Ricardo Rosselló (@ricardorossello) June 13, 2019
Martin was not the only artist to express their opposition to the bill.
Award-winning musician Resident Calle 13 shared a video on his social media saying this bill is “an embarrassment to the island” and calling the island’s administration “retrograde.”
As the world calls for equality and the defense of human rights, the House of Representatives and Governor of Puerto Rico are pushing a backwards legislation that will create separation, prejudice, and hate, and will allow for the disrespect of individuality. pic.twitter.com/T6FmKiTl8H
— Residente (@Residente) June 13, 2019
The “religious liberty” bill also received heavy criticism from the three U.S. Democratic presidential candidates: Julián Castro, Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), along with LGTBQ advocacy groups.
With news of the bill being withdrawn, Martin went to social media to announce the victory.