Things That Matter

Bad Bunny And Ricky Martin Killed A ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill In Puerto Rico Furthering LGBTQ+ Rights In The Caribbean

Governors in the U.S. have tried and failed multiple times to enshrine discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community by passing “religious freedom” bills. At the heart of these bills is the idea that someone’s religion is enough to discriminate against those of different faiths, sexual orientations, and gender identities. Puerto Rico tried to follow the same failed path as Indiana and the backlash was swift and victorious after Ricky Martin and Bad Bunny (Benito Martinez) spoke out against the bill forcing Governor Ricardo Rosselló to backtrack on his bill to discriminate.

In April, Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rosselló presented the Puerto Rican House of Representatives a “religious freedom” bill.

Credit: @lgbtpr / Twitter

The bill was months in the making and Gov. Rosselló showed his full support for the bill, House Bill 2069. The bill would have allowed for government employees to openly discriminate against people who went against their religious beliefs.

Ricky Martin spoke up against the measure and called out the Puerto Rican government and their willingness to legalize discrimination against LGBTQ+ people.

“While the world calls for equality, respect for diversity and the defense of human rights, members of the Senate and the House of Representatives and the Governor of Puerto Rico are pushing for a measure that goes against all of the above and it encourages division, prejudice, hatred and the lack of respect for individuality,” Martin wrote on his fan website. “It does so under a premise that undermines the constitutional protections against discrimination on the basis of race, sex or belief, and in its place, justifies an irrational protection of the religious convictions of government employees.”

“As a member of the LGBTT community, I join the constituency that affirms that there has never been a willingness among our LGBTT people to allow for the validation or legalization of discrimination against us.”

“House Bill 2069, filed at the request of Governor Ricardo Rosselló and promoted by Representative Charbonier, achieve nothing more than opening the doors to hatred towards anyone who doesn’t share the same ideology, who simply belong to the LGBTT community, or who don’t  have the same color skin, amidst many other discriminatory measures.”

“Authentic religious freedom calls for respecting everyone equally.”

Bad Bunny also used his platform to stand up for the LGBTQ+ community in Puerto Rico.

Credit: badbunnypr / Instagram

“While we ‘bad guys’ do out to unite people and try to send a message of respect and tolerance, the leaders of my country work to do the opposite,” he wrote on Instagram. “We cannot take steps backwards, NEVER! @ricardorossello you make excellent coffee, I know that you can also make an excellent decision.”

Calle 13’s Residente joined his Puerto Rican peers to call out the Puerto Rican government’s wishes to strip LGBTQ+ people of their humanity with the law.

These calls against the action came during Pride month when the U.S. is supposed to be celebrating and uplifting the LGBTQ+ community, which still faces discrimination and violence.

After the outcry, Gov. Rosselló reversed his support for the bill and ordered the Puerto Rican House of Representatives to shelf the bill.

Credit: @ricky_martin / Twitter

“WE WON! The recent years, Western countries have made significant advances in guaranteeing equal right for the LGBTT community,” Martin tweeted.

Martin celebrated the decision by educating his followers about what the measure would mean for the LGBTQ+ community.

Credit: @ricky_martin / Twitter

“These advances were threatened recently in Puerto Rico, where the House fo Representatives passed legislation that endangered the progress won in the last decade and risked feeding the division, prejudice, and tensions between the communities.”

He did not sugar coat the true meaning behind the legislation.

Credit: @ricky_martin / Twitter

“By granting government employees the power to act in accordance with their religious convictions, personal values, and principles, this regressive legislation would have sanctioned the practice of institutional discrimination on the part of those who committed themselves to a life in public service.”

Congratulations, Ricky!

Credit: ricky_martin / Instagram

It just goes to show that enough public outcry can make politicians listen to the majority instead of the vocal minority.

READ: After Delay Caused By Border Wall And Trump’s Feud with Puerto Rico, Congress Finally Passes $19.1 Billion Disaster Aid Package

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Puerto Rican Boxer Félix Verdejo Sánchez Pleads Not Guilty To Charges Of Killing Of Pregnant Woman

Things That Matter

Puerto Rican Boxer Félix Verdejo Sánchez Pleads Not Guilty To Charges Of Killing Of Pregnant Woman

Puerto Rican boxer Félix Verdejo Sánchez is charged with murdering Keishla Rodríguez Ortiz, who was pregnant at the time. In a virtual court hearing earlier this week, Verdejo Sánchez pleaded not guilty to federal charges related to the murder.

Boxer Félix Verdejo Sánchez is being charged with murder in connection to the death of Keishla Rodríguez Ortiz.

Earlier this month, news broke that Rodríguez Ortiz’s body was found floating in a lagoon. The news shocked Puerto Rico because Rodríguez Ortiz was pregnant when she was killed. Verdejo Sánchez, who is married and has a young daughter, was quickly arrested and charged with murder in connection with her death.

According to an FBI complaint, Verdejo Sánchez is accused of punching Rodríguez Ortiz in the face before injecting her with an unknown substance. She was then tied up and heavy blocks were attached to the bindings before being thrown from a bridge. Verdejo Sánchez then allegedly shot at Rodríguez Ortiz’s body before fleeing the scene.

Verdejo Sánchez and Luis Antonio Cádiz Martínez were both indicted in the crime.

According to reports, Cadíz Martinez helped Verdejo Sánchez commit the crime and has worked as a witness for the FBI as they investigate the murder. Both men have pleaded not guilty to one count of carjacking resulting in death, one count of kidnapping resulting in death, and one count of killing an unborn child. Verdejo Sánchez is also facing one count of carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

The two men are facing federal charges that could come with federal death penalties.

The death penalty is illegal in Puerto Rico but special circumstances in the case could mean federal death penalties. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico said in a statement that the crime was done “by payment or the promise of payment.” That is enough to escalate the matter to a federal crime.

“Keishla Rodríguez-Ortiz was taken from a family that loved her, and she and her child were denied the most fundamental right of life, and the joy of knowing what that life could have been,” United States Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow said in a statement. “We hope that this process brings some measure of solace to Keishla’s family. This case also underscores the message of cooperation with law enforcement that I have been repeating to the community – If you have knowledge of criminal activity, even if you are a participant in that activity, do the right thing and come forward to authorities. The prosecutors and the law enforcement agencies that have worked tirelessly, and who continue to assist in the ongoing investigation of this case, are to be commended.”

Rodríguez Ortiz’s death has sparked outrage as the island confronts a spike in femicide since January.

Twenty-one women have been killed in Puerto Rico since the beginning of the year. According to Observatorio de Equidad de Género, 60 women were killed last year in Puerto Rico, which is a 62 percent increase from 2019. Puerto Ricans are demanding justice and answers as the same femicide gripping the rest of Latin America is on the rise.

This story is ongoing and mitú will update on the story as it develops.

READ: Radical Feminists Have Seized Control of a Federal Building in Mexico in Protest of the Government’s Apathy Towards Rampant Femicide

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Bad Bunny Is His Own Competition At 2021 Billboard Music Awards + More Latin Nominees

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Bad Bunny Is His Own Competition At 2021 Billboard Music Awards + More Latin Nominees

The nominees for this year’s Billboard Music Awards are out. In one of the Latin categories, all three of Bad Bunny’s quarantine albums are nominated. The Puerto Rican superstar faces off with himself, J Balvin, and Anuel AA.

The winners at the Billboard Music Awards are based on sales, streaming, and chart performance.

The Billboard Music Awards gathers its nominees and winners from data on the charts this past year. If no one was buying or streaming your music, then you won’t get nominated. If you know the sales figures of the nominees, it’s easy to tell who will end up taking the award.

Good luck to whoever is nominated against Bad Bunny.

It should be no surprise that Bad Bunny dominated the nominations in the Latin categories. YHLQMDLG peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart and El Último Tour Del Mundo became the first all-Spanish album in history to hit No. 1. To whoever is nominated alongside Benito, good luck.

All three of Benito’s albums that he dropped during the COVID-19 quarantine are nominated in one category.

In the Top Latin Album category, Bad Bunny is impressively nominated three times for YHLQMDLG, Las Que No Iban a Salir, and El Último Tour Del Mundo. His competition in the category includes fellow Boricua Anuel AA’s Emmanuel and Colombiano J Balvin’s Colores albums.

Karol G, Becky G, and La Rosalía face off for Top Latin Female Artist.

The Top Latin Artist nominees are all men, including Bad Bunny, his previous competition, Maluma, and Ozuna. In the Top Latin Male Artist category, it’s Benito against Ozuna and J Balvin. In the Top Latin Female Artist category, Chicana singer Becky G faces Colombiana Karol G and Spanish pop star Rosalía.

All of last year’s big hits are nominated in Top Latin Song category.

The Top Latin Song category captures all of the bangers from the past year. Bad Bunny is nominated twice for “Yo Perreo Sola” and “Dákiti” with Jhay Cortez. Maluma and The Weeknd’s “Hawái” remix is also up for the award with the Black Eyed Peas’ “Ritmo (Bad Boys for Life)” with J Balvin and Ozuna’s “Caramelo” remix featuring Karol G and Myke Towers.

The Billboard Music Awards will air on May 23. The live show will be broadcast on NBC and hosted by the Jonas Brothers’ Nick Jonas.

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Read: Grammy Awards Ending ‘Secret Committees,’ They Remain In-Place For Latin Grammys

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