Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Ricky Martin Criticizes Move to Drop Gay Protections from Puerto Rico Law

Ricky Martin speaks out against change in Puerto Rican penal code (AP photo).

Ricky Martin, Latino Superstar, blasted politicians in his home commonwealth of Puerto Rico for seeking to remove gay people from legal protection from bias-motivated hate crimes, according to Fox News Latino. Martin posted a strong statement on his website blog denouncing the move.  In part, he said:

“I am very saddened by the turn the discussion on criminal law has taken in Puerto Rico that proposes to eliminate the aggravating in cases where crimes are committed by prejudice against the victim.”  Martin went on to say, “They ought to do their homework and review the Universal Declaration of Human Rights a bit…which says that everyone – all citizens – are equal before the law and have, without distinction, the right to equal protection under the law.”

Martin’s opposition to the change in Puerto Rico’s hate crimes law comes at a time when the numbers of anti-gay and transgender hate crimes are reaching epidemic proportions.  His voice will help amplify the protests of local LGBT and Dominican activists who are fighting the passage of the amendment in the legislature. In March 2010, Martin came out openly as a gay man, ending years of speculation by the public.  On his website, he said, “I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am.”  After years of  declining to comment on his sexual orientation, Martin said, “These years in silence and reflection made me stronger and reminded me that acceptance has to come from within, and that this kind of truth gives me the power to conquer emotions I didn’t even know existed.”   Now the father of two young sons , Matteo and Valentino, who were born of a surrogate mother in 2008, Martin took citizenship in Spain in 2011, where he intends to marry his lover.  Though he could be married in certain states in the U.S., he has said he wishes to marry in Spain to acknowledge the work of LGBT rights advocates and Prime Minister Zapatero there.

One of the motivators Martin says moved him to come out publicly as a gay man was the gruesome murder of Jorge Steven López Mercado in 2009.  The gay teen was abducted, dismembered, beheaded, and his remains were left burning along a rural road in central Puerto Rico.  The savagery of the killing awoke the consciences of many on the Island besides Martin, though the numbers of violent attacks against LGBT Puerto Ricans has continued to rise.  López Mercado’s murderer has been convicted, and is serving a 99-year sentence.

December 8, 2011 - Posted by | Anti-LGBT hate crime, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Bisexual persons, Decapitation and dismemberment, gay bashing, gay men, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Latino and Latina Americans, Law and Order, Lesbian women, LGBTQ, Puerto Rico, Social Justice Advocacy, transgender persons, transphobia | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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