Faced with strong religious opposition, Puerto Rico is to consider proposed laws which would allow gay couples to adopt, and which would establish a public school curriculum examining gender issues, including sexual discrimination.
Senator Maria Gonzalez Lopez, who filed both of the bills earlier this year said in an interview with the Associated Press that there would be economic, emotional and psychological consequences of continuing to discriminate against families.
“It’s imperative that this legislative assembly recognize and not deny existing families their rights,” the bill states. “People’s lifestyles are moving further away each time from the concept of a traditional family nucleus.”
One of the US territory’s largest Christian organisations Puerto Rico Pro Family, has said that it would seek two constitutional amendments to limit marrage to between one man and one woman.
“There are certain issues that are non-negotiable,” said Dr Cesar Vazquez Muniz, spokesman for the group. “The problem is that they are trying to change the values of this country.”
The adoption bill was filed after the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico narrowly voted 5-4 to uphold a local law banning adoption by same-sex parents. Justices said it was up to legislators to change the law on adoption.
The second bill would call on public schools to teach an inclusive curriculum which hopes to promote gender equality, and curb the island’s domestic violence numbers.
Opponents to the measure say parents should hold responsibility in deciding what to teach their children in terms of those issues.
Several rallies against LGBT rights have taken place this year, with a demonstration in February attracting over 200,000 people.