The signature by the governor Wanda Vázquez Garced new Civil Code Tonight did not go unnoticed among the various sectors of society that have taken a voice in this discussion, and who immediately reacted to this action by the first executive.
In the case of the Broad Committee for the Search for Equity (CABE), a group that insisted that this project should not be signed, cataloged its approval as “Historical setback”. Meanwhile, leaders of the College of Lawyers of Puerto Rico (Caapr) They demanded that the Civil Code be amended to extend the implementation period to one year to give opportunity to retrain all professionals involved in legal processes.
For her part, the president of the Legal Commission of the House of Representatives, Maria Milagros CharbonierShe said she was pleased with the work done by the team of professionals who wrote the new books of the Civil Code.
They regret their signature
CABE spokespersons asserted in a press release that the bill that became law tonight would undermine the rights of women and LGBTTIQ + people. They also reiterated that the recommendations they offered to correct the document were ignored.
“It seems unbelievable that on the day that LGBTTIQ + Pride Month begins to be celebrated, the governor will pass into law a Civil Code that violates the rights of women and LGBTTIQ + people. It is a direct attack on the dignity and humanity of LGBTTIQ + people. For months we have been alerting about the harmful provisions to the civil rights of women and LGBTTIQ + people. We demanded public hearings, we offered recommendations, we denounced what had to be corrected, we asked that it be vetoed, but we were ignored. This code represents a historical setback to the conquests of human rights of women and LGBTTIQ + people, ”said Amarilis Pagán.
Pedro Julio Serrano added that the Civil Code “Lace rights” and “further violates vulnerable populations. It is unacceptable, it is reckless and it is inhuman. ”
Along the same lines, Carmen Milagros Vélez Vega argued that “With its confusing and contradictory language, it endangers the right of trans people to temper their birth certificate, the right of women to decide on their own body, the right to form a family as a de facto partner, both heterosexual and LGBTTIQ + , does not recognize prohibited discrimination, does not explicitly prohibit discrimination in marriage and adoption and to top it off, LGBTTIQ + people are not effectively mentioned making us invisible ”.
Finally, Osvaldo Burgos pointed out that the country loses with this new Code and insisted that the process that was carried out for its discussion and approval was run over and with religious bias.
“The approval had the minimum number of votes in the Legislature. The language is confusing and contradictory, giving scope for harmful interpretations of civil rights. Worse still, this code will result in litigation in the courts that will cost the people when the government has to defend its constitutionality, since there are rights that are violated. The governor had the opportunity to do the right thing, but she ended up on the wrong side of the story and she will be judged that way, “said Burgos.
They ask for amendments
Meanwhile, the Caapr identified dozens of amendments to the text that were never discussed in public hearings.
“The House of Representatives approved some 80 amendments without public hearings to the original project. Some 66 amendments were incorporated in the Senate to the substitute bill of the House, without listening to the people. The bill signed today was exposed to 146 amendments that never went to public hearing. In 90 years, the current Civil Code was modified 60 times ”, observed the lawyer Daisy Calcaño López, first vice president of the College.
In similar terms, the president of the Caapr, Edgardo Manuel Román Espada, expressed that the presiding body denounced “The approval of a Code in those circumstances, behind the back of the various sectors interested in collaborating. We sent two communications to the governor requesting a veto on the measure and its return to the House. That was the democratic route. It is unfortunate that our claims were never answered “.
The entity insisted that it is necessary to extend the implementation stage of the new law to one year, not only to retrain all legal personnel, but also to introduce the changes that are necessary in the set of laws.
“Today a 1930 Civil Code is repealed, which was already outdated, and whose provisions impeded the social and economic development of a modern society. However, it has been replaced by another Code that, although it includes important advances, also falls short in the face of Puerto Rican aspirations. This topic does not end here. Now begins an intense day to manage to equip our legal class and the Country with the knowledge that allows us to implement the code. As a first step, we must introduce an urgent amendment to extend the period in which it will take effect to one year, “said lawyer José Javier Lamas, president of the Caapr Civil Law Commission.
“Puerto Rico has taken a step forward”
Represented by Charbonier, who from the House steered efforts to achieve the approved Code, said that the new statute is “Adjusted to today’s generations”.
“I am extremely happy to have contributed to this new chapter in the history of Puerto Rico. Well, there have been long years of waiting for our legal system and our people to have a local Civil Code adjusted to our times. The new six books add rights to our citizens that did not exist before, and you can be sure that everyone is treated with the same right, respect, dignity, and equality that all Puerto Ricans deserve, ”the legislator shared in written statements.
In the same way, the vice president of the Legal Commission, the representative José Enrique “Quiquito” Meléndez, expressed that “the new Civil Code is one of the most important pieces of legislation approved in recent decades “.
Charbonier accompanied his statement with statements from several professors and two retired judges, who also praised the measure. This group is made up of graduates Ramón Antonio Guzmán, Miguel Garay Aubán, Evelyn Benvenutti Toro, Rubén T. Nigaglioni Mignucci and Juan David Vilaró; and former judges Yolanda Doitteau Ruiz and Nidia Z. Jiménez.
Likewise, the cameral president Carlos ‘Johnny’ Méndez Núñez stressed the importance of the signature by the governor.
“Today we meet the people of Puerto Rico That commitment that we made at the end of November 2016, when we announced that as part of the new legislative agenda for January 2017 was the development of a new advanced Civil Code, complete and with the guarantees of law for all, without distinction “He pointed out.