Puerto Rico LGBTQ rights are slowly advancing

Governor Ricardo Rosello is taking steps toward Puerto Rico LGBTQ rights. The socially conservative leader of Puerto Rico announced this week that he has created the first LGBT advisory board the U.S. territory has ever had.

Same-sex marriage is currently legal in Puerto Rico. As a territory of the United States, Puerto Rico was included in the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling by the Supreme Court in 2015. In 2016, this ruling was temporarily overturned in Puerto Rico.

Governor takes steps toward Puerto Rico LGBTQ rights
LGBT organizations in Puerto Rico have been fighting for the right to marry for years. (Photo: PanAm Post)

“Judge Juan Perez-Gimenez ruled that a U.S. Supreme Court decision that allows gay couples to marry anywhere in the United States does not apply on the island because it is a U.S. territory and not a state,” according to an article from LGBTQ Nation. “The ruling also rejects a motion filed by Lambda Legal and Puerto Rico’s government to stop enforcement of the island’s ban on same-sex marriage.”


While same-sex marriage is legal again and same-sex couples are allowed to adopt, equality is severely lacking for the transgender community of Puerto Rico. Currently, transgender students are not permitted to use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender they identify with, nor are members of the Puerto Rican Senate. In addition, members of the transgender community are required to wear clothing that corresponds to the gender they were assigned at birth. Transgender people are not allowed to change the gender listed on their birth certificate. However, they can change their gender on their driver’s license.

According to Rosello, the board will submit a report of the committee’s progress every six months.