Without the support of the legislative minorities and without addressing part of the concerns of various sectors that have warned that part of the language included in the legislative proposal violates the rights of the LGBTTIQ community and other vulnerable groups, the Senate approved today, with 16 votes in favor and 7 against, and with amendments the new Civil Code.
Of the majority, the only one who voted against was Miguel Romero.
The Senate did not hold public hearings to discuss the measure and it was not until last week that it electronically revealed the amendments proposed by the Executive to the bill.
The president of the Senate, Thomas Rivera Schatz, defended the process that was given to the measure in the legislative body that he directs. He argued that those who oppose its approval are those sectors that want to impose their vision. He acknowledged that the measure probably does not cover all the issues that it should and that it contains a topic that will require revision in the future, but maintained that it was time to modernize the Civil Code.
“After all, compañeros and compañeras, the law evolves,” he argued.
He emphasized, contrary to the claims, that the document does not remove any right recognized by the Supreme Court of the United States and the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico. “No right is injured, it is not restricted,” he stressed.
In its turn, the spokesman for the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) in the Senate, Juan Dalmau Ramírez, condemned the procedural treatment that the upper house gave to the legislative piece that -as for the discussion of this measure- limited its functions to publish the framework of the measure on its electronic page so that people could issue their comments.
Dalmau argued that it is precisely this confrontation that arises as a result of public hearings, which allows them to clarify doubts, emphasize important aspects of the legislation and adopt ideas that can be integrated as amendments. “That we can receive an input in a direct and immediate exchange beyond submitting a ‘memo to the file’ or write an email and, then, I read it when I can,” he explained.
He added that there are aspects related to the project language that rivet in the prehistoric perception of what the person is, yes, as well as the rights of the legally born person and what are the relations of facts. “The Civil Code that is intended to be approved today falls far short of my perspective regarding this recognition of equality and particularly from the perspective and gender identity that is so necessary to protect it today with clear and precise language,” said Dalmau .
For his part, Senate Majority Speaker Carmelo Rios defended the final product and denied that the Code has been lightly discussed. He maintained that it is not a religious document, nor an atheist. “It is the People’s Code… everyone wants a Code that represents their life and must represent our lives. The Senate has done what it had to do, “he alleged.
Among the aspects highlighted by Ríos, is the fact that the document limits the grounds for divorce to two, these being mutual consent and irreparable rupture. Meanwhile, it allows – although it is already recognized at the level of law – that notaries carry out divorces.
She denied that the document violates the rights of women and the LGBTTIQ community. “The historical fact is that you are born as you are born …”, he mentioned.
The popular senator Cirilo Tirado, however, was of the opposite opinion and – like other colleagues – condemned the legislative process. “They are legislating like the ostrich, with their heads hidden. They are not facing people in such an important process, in a Civil Code that establishes relations between the human beings of this country, between families, between marriage. They do not allow anyone’s discussion, “he said.
He noted that as approved, the document eliminates de facto relationships and prohibits private contracting of the human body, that is, subrogation.
“A person who uses his wife’s egg and uses his sperm and wants to use another woman’s womb to be able to give birth to a child, now they cannot do it because they are prohibiting the process of hiring a womb,” argued Tirado.
“They seek to perpetuate the machismo inherited from the Spanish mother country in a Civil Code that runs over women and, on the other hand, not move into the future and recognize once and for all the various relationships that exist in the lives of human beings. To eliminate subrogation is to prohibit a homosexual couple from having children, we are going to call him by his first and last name, ”added Tirado.
He also questioned whether it is eliminated that an ex-spouse can claim a pension, a limitation that, he emphasized, will primarily affect women. “This is a macho vision of what a society is that should not be like this. This Civil Code, comrades, should have gone to public view. I reiterate that it is to return to the past. Despite the fact that it has good things, it maintains the macho vision that threatens women and also targets homosexuals, they do not say it directly, but it is known when one reads it, “said Tirado.