Ricky Martin

Puerto Rican-born singer Ricky Martin says he’s ‘sad’ that the U.S. territory plans to remove LGBT protections from its hate crime law.

Puerto Rico’s current hate crime law specifically includes attacks against people on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Now, despite a number of murders of gay and transgender people in the territory, Puerto Rico’s Senate has approved a measure that would restrict the definition of hate crimes to only those perpetrated on the basis of political status, age and disability.

Sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, ethnicity and religious beliefs would be removed from the hate crimes statute.

The provision must next be voted on by the House of Representatives. LGBT and human rights groups describe the move as a step backwards for Puerto Rico.

Activists have also noted that even with the current hate crime definition none of the six murders of transgender people in the last twelve months have been declared hate crimes.

Writing on his website blog in Spanish, Martin said that he is “very sad about the turn the discussion on Criminal Law is taking in Puerto Rico that proposes the elimination of aggravating factors in cases where crimes are committed out of prejudice toward the victim”.

He accused lawmakers of “promoting inequality and hate” and suggested that they read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights “which says that all people are equal before the law and have, without distinction, the right to equal protection under the law”.

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