Lambda Legal Statement on Senate Vote Amending Puerto Rico’s Civil Code

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May 11, 2020

Today, after the Puerto Rico Senate approved a new Civil Code for the Commonwealth affecting the rights of LGBTQ people, Lambda Legal, through Senior Attorney and Puerto Rico native, Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, released the following statement:

“Today, before approving a new Civil Code for the Commonwealth, Puerto Rico’s Senate amended the proposed Civil Code to be consistent with the federal court’s judgment in Arroyo v. Rosselló, in which Lambda Legal secured the right for transgender people born in Puerto Rico to correct the sex designation on their birth certificates in a manner consistent with their gender identity. This is a key victory for transgender people in Puerto Rico.

"However, the proposed new Civil Code still falls woefully short of reflecting the progress we have made in our society and fails to recognize modern families. In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and the wave of violence affecting transgender people in the Island, Puerto Rico’s legislature chose to prioritize a flawed new Civil Code, without the benefit of public hearings or an open process. 

"While we appreciate the inclusion of language recognizing the right of transgender people to correct their birth certificates, we urge Puerto Rico’s Governor not to sign the new Civil Code into law. It is flawed, procedurally and substantively.”

Read Lambda Legal’s letter sent last month to Governor Wanda Vázquez warning her that the proposed Civil Code would violate the U.S. Constitution and a federal court order.
Read about birth certificate policies nationwide.