New York Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn:
“Any action by the Puerto Rican government to water down hate crimes protections is simply wrong. In the past few years, we have seen a rise in the number of hate crimes being perpetrated against LGBT Puerto Ricans. If anything, hate crimes laws need to be strengthened and the current hate crimes laws need to be enforced to the fullest extent of the law. Ending bias related crime can only be successful when people speak out against such crime and call it what is it—a Hate Crime. Attacking someone for expressing who they are, what they look like or declaring their sexual identity, is wrong and hateful. Our communities need to accept and celebrate diversity, not demonize it. I urge every member of the Puerto Rican House of Representatives to vote against this misguided bill and stand up for what is right.”

U.S. Representative Nydia M. Velázquez:
“Prejudice, discrimination and hate crimes cannot be tolerated, whether they are based on race, religion or sexual orientation,” said U.S. Rep Nydia M. Velázquez. The current effort to weaken hate crime protections is an unconscionable affront to our community and Puerto Rico’s legislature should defeat it.”

New York Council Member Daniel Dromm:
“Having had a comprehensive hate crimes law in New York State for several years, we know from experience why these protections are important. Without an inclusive hate crimes law, all New Yorkers would be endangered. The same holds true for Puerto Rico. Hate crime laws protect everyone. Rather than diminishing protections for Puerto Ricans, the Puerto Rican legislature should stand up and fight prejudice and discrimination.”

New York Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer:
“I have worked with my colleagues in the New York City Council to speak out against hate crimes and to strengthen laws that will protect individuals from these acts of hatred, violence and ignorance wherever they occur. One crime based on hatred, is one too many and unfortunately, we have seen a number of incidents in Puerto Rico that highlight the need for this type of legislation. It is my hope that the Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives will not weaken the island’s commitment to the civil rights of all who live there.

New York Council Member Rose Mendez:
“There has been approximately two dozen murders during the past two years. It is alarming that instead of strengthening the existing hate crimes legislation, Governor Fortuno and the Senate respond by weakening it by removing protected groups such as the LGBT Community. You cannot put in harms way the vulnerable individuals that need this protection the most and that is exactly what will happen under Fortuno’s leadership.”

New York Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito
“The vote later this week by Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives calls to withdraw protections for members of the LGBT community, religious and ethnic minorities is shameful and appalling. When we take into account the horrific hate crimes that have occurred in recent years, this decision is even more egregious and nonsensical. The Puerto Rican government is creating a dangerous environment for those who have been and potentially could be attacked or even killed solely on the basis of their identity without any additional penalties for the perpetrators. This strategy to de-classify hate violence directed against LGBT Puerto Ricans and ethnic groups as a separate crime cannot stand. As a Puerto Rican committed to human rights and equality for all under the law, I will not stand silent to this injustice. Please join me by calling your representatives in Puerto Rico and demand they offer protection to its citizenry, not strip them of it.”