SAN JUAN – Puerto Rican Justice Secretary Cesar Miranda announced Friday that the government will take no measures restricting marriage to a bond between a man and a woman, a step toward accepting same-sex unions.
Miranda told a press conference that “things change” and that currently 37 U.S. states and 19 countries permit same-sex marriages, and that state and federal courts in the United States have handed down 64 rulings that such discrimination must be overcome.
“This is an acknowledgment that all Puerto Rican men and women are equal under the law,” Miranda said at an emotional press conference “with historic overtones.”
“For reasons of sexual orientation in Puerto Rico, some people are denied what others are allowed, and that is neither right nor legal nor ethical,” he said.
He added that gay couples provide multiple rights and protections for each other by virtue of marriage.
“Those same rights should be available to those who love each other, who take care of each other, who work and contribute to this society the same as everyone else,” he said, “particularly when in Puerto Rico they legally have no other alternative.”
Puerto Rico took the decision on the matter Friday because the period of time was expiring when it could present a plea before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston on a case contesting the constitutionality of banning same-sex marriage.
In 2013 the United States Supreme Court ruled that Congress violated the provision of equal protection under the law by defining marriage exclusively as a union between a man and a woman.