Last edited: November 23, 2003

Puerto Rico Gay Legalization Sought

Associated Press, June 4, 2000

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – Dozens of people marched through downtown San Juan, Puerto Rico Sunday to demand that lawmakers legalize homosexuality in the U.S. territory.

Waving flags emblazoned with the gay-rights rainbow symbol, the protesters walked through the Condado tourist district to a rally in Luis Munoz Rivera Park. There, speakers decried the law that makes sex between people of the same gender a crime punishable by 10 years in prison.

No one has ever been charged under the law, and prosecutors recently refused to arrest a lesbian pastor who offered herself as a test case. But homosexuals complain that the law encourages prejudice against them.

"We demand peace for the lesbians, homosexuals, bisexuals, transsexuals and transgendered who are bombarded with taunts, contaminated by homophobia, abused by violence," Amparo Fidalgo, spokeswoman of the gay rights coalition Rainbow Pride, said to a cheering crowd.

Gay rights advocates have been quietly lobbying lawmakers to change the law, but they have all declined to present such a bill, Fidalgo said.

Organizers called the event the "Decade of Reclaiming the Streets with Pride March." It was the 10th annual gay rights march in San Juan.

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