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How Gay Weddings And Honeymoons Could Be The Answer To Puerto Rico’s Problems

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La Isla del Encanto, or Puerto Rico as most of us know it, is going through a crippling financial crisis thanks to a $70 billion debt. The solution? Some are banking on gay tourism. Yup.

Lee Hall, who got engaged to his boyfriend on the island, says, “Everyone here, that I’ve experienced, is very gay friendly, gay accepting.” Unlike other islands in the Caribbean that traditionally follow the conservative rulings of the British, Puerto Rico abides by the same gay laws in the U.S. This means that being gay won’t land you a life sentence like it does in Barbados or in a mental asylum like in Dominica — a huge advantage for any openly gay people who want to travel to the Caribbean.

READ: Mexican Soccer Player Says He’s Not Gay, But if He Was, You Shouldn’t Care

Cecilia de la Luz, a gay activist, has been fighting for gay rights for more than 40 years, and advocates for gay rights on the island because it will improve the quality of life for everyone, not just gay people.

“There’s a connection between more rights for gay people in Puerto Rico and have more impact in regards to gay tourism on the island and that will have a domino effect in regards to improve the economy,” she says.

To no one’s surprise, 90 percent of the tourism on the island comes from the U.S. and of that percentage, gay honeymooners spend a lot more money than their straight counterparts. Ingrid Rivera, executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company says that the island is a great wedding destination. Because of this, the government is pushing U.S. airlines to have more direct flights to the island and even has commercials geared towards the gay community. Although there are no hard numbers in terms of how much gay tourism can generate for the island, Rivera estimates it at 350 to 500 million.

Tropical island gay weddings and debt reduction? Boom. It’s a #winwin.

Listen to more details about gay tourism in Puerto Rico from NPR’s Latino USA here.

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Pope Francis Is Going To Stand With Migrants At The U.S.-Mexico Border During Papal Visit

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Pope Francis Is Going To Stand With Migrants At The U.S.-Mexico Border During Papal Visit

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Pope Francis hasn’t even made it to the Americas yet, but he’s already making news about his much-anticipated Mexico visit next week. The pontiff will stand with migrants in the bordertown of Ciudad Juárez in a show of solidarity according to the Wall Street Journal. People on both sides of the border are split on the issue: some think the move to side with migrants fleeing north from Central America and Mexico sends a political message, not a religious one.

“The truth is, we’re united in many ways across our border,” said El Paso Bishop Mark Seitz, who will greet the pope, told the Los Angeles Times. “A high percentage of people in El Paso have relatives in Juárez or send their children to school there or work there. Our geography, our history unites us.”

The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis’s six-day Mexico visit will end with a mass held in Ciudad Juárez on February 17. Ticket for the mass are on sale and 200,000 people are expected to show up in the Mexico side of the border. Another 50,000 will be in El Paso watching the Mass from Sun Bowl stadium. Another 70,000 volunteers, from the U.S. and Mexico, are expected to form a human chain to protect Pope Francis’s drive from the airport to the location where Mass will be held.

READ: 7 Times the Pope Showed He’s Just Like Lots of Latinos We Know

“This is one community despite the fence,” Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told reporters on Tuesday, according to the Wall Street Journal. “I think it will be moving to see this single community even though it is located on two sides of the border.”

Learn more about Pope Francis’s Mexico in the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal.

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