Hours after the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of same-sex marriage rights on Friday (June 26), Puerto Rico pushed for legislation reform that would extend those rights to the U.S. territory in a timely fashion.
Supporters across the island, including those gathered outside the Capitol building in San Juan, celebrated the historic ruling, which Justice Secretary Cesar Miranda called “a huge step in the quest for equal rights.”
According to The Associated Press, Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla signed an executive order requiring government agencies in Puerto Rico to become compliant with the ruling within 15 days. Subsequently, the island’s Health Department is expected to start issuing marriage licenses within 30 days.
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Pop superstar Ricky Martin, a proud Puerto Rican, celebrated the SCOTUS ruling earlier on Twitter, touting the power of love:
Fellow boricua Luis Fonsi joined him in the celebration:
Martin is known for his human-rights activism, and ever since he came out as a gay man in 2010, he has been particularly devoted to advocacy on behalf of the LGBT community.
According to his rep, Martin heard the news of the SCOTUS ruling while on the island, before traveling to Buenos Aires for a benefit concert. “This ruling opens the path for a Puerto Rico that is free of discrimination and recognizes the right to love for all couples,” Martin said in an official statement. “I trust that this will be the first step to end discrimination of any kind and that we can all learn to recognize the right to equality.”
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Despite support for the ruling on the political front, certain powerful religious figures in Puerto Rico continued to reject the notion that marriage rights extend to same-sex couples.
AP reports that a prominent Catholic bishop from the city of Arecibo, Monsignor Daniel Fernandez, reacted to the news by saying that, “By nature, marriage exists and can only exist between a man and a woman.”
In his statement, Martin called for religious conservatives to “put an end to homophobia which has characterized your public speech and reflect on everyone’s right to live in a free and democratic society. Stop seeing with critical eyes and accept that the time has come to embark on a path toward greater understanding, tolerance, solidarity and acceptance.”
BREAKING: #SCOTUS has just announced that love is equal across the nation!!! #MarriageEquality #LoveAlwaysWins #Loveislove
— Ricky Martin (@ricky_martin) June 26, 2015
Que viva la igualdad!!! #LoveWins #LoveALWAYSWins
— Luis Fonsi (@LuisFonsi) June 26, 2015