The justice department of Puerto Rico has announced that it will no longer defend Article 68 of the country’s Civil Code, which contains rules limiting marriage between a man and a woman.
Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla made a statement on his office’s website supporting this decision: ‘Our constitutional system does not allow discriminatory distinctions such as that contained in the Civil Code concerning the rights of same-sex couples. Everyone knows my religious beliefs, but it is not for political leaders to impose our beliefs. We must push for progress in civil and human rights for all citizens equally. As Governor of Puerto Rico, that’s my duty.’
‘The decision recognizes that all human beings are equal before the law,’ Justice Secretary César Miranda said. ‘We believe in an equal society in which everyone enjoys the same rights.’
Puerto Rican pop star Ricky Martin responded in a Twitter message: ‘Today is a great day for my island. My heart is beating out of my chest. How proud I am to live in a country of equality.’
Puerto Rico is the first U.S. territory to make a move towards legally recognizing same-sex marriage.