The bishops in Puerto Rico have encouraged participation in a march against gender ideology, a citizen initiative in response to the upcoming launch of the "gender perspective curriculum" announced by the territorial government.

The Puerto Rican bishops’ conference encouraged the island’s laity "with complete freedom and in the exercise of their rights as citizens, freely to discern their participation" in the "march against the imposition of gender ideology” in a July 26 statement.

The bishops said they support parents and lay faithful, who, “making use of their natural right” and with “the freedom they have, to strongly express, always peacefully, their concern and their demands regarding this imposition, more ideological than scientific”, decide to “participate in the context of their legitimate right, in the march against the imposition of gender ideology.”

The march is to be held Aug. 14.

The Life and Family Coalition has called on the population to join the territorial demonstration that seeks to "stop the ‘gender’ dictatorship in Puerto Rico.”

The initiative arose after Governor Pedro Pierluisi issued an executive order to implement in public schools an updated version of the "Gender Perspective curriculum," created by the administration of former Governor Alejandro García Padilla, which was rejected by the people of Puerto Rico in public marches in 2015.

The bishops pointed out that Christians are also citizens who need to "enjoy adequate freedom and the facilities provided by the state," and therefore, they have the same right and capacity as everyone to "claim from the legitimate authorities of the same state, their right to live and act in accordance with their convictions and their conscience.”

The Puerto Rican bishops stressed that parents and the faithful have the legitimate right to be able to educate their children "without being subjected in public schools to ideologies that directly attack their convictions and sensibilities."

Finally, they asked the protesters to participate "without allowing themselves to be provoked, nor used by those who, even within the religious sphere, may have other agendas that lead to disrespect” to any person "due to their personal conditions, disability, origin, religion, affective tendencies.” This includes all kinds of “harassment, violence, insults and unjust discrimination.”

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In December 2020 Bishop Daniel Fernández Torres of Arecibo asked Pierluisi to stop the imposition of gender ideology in the territory. In February Bishop Fernández expressed his opposition to bills 184 and 185 that seek to impose this ideology, and warned of religious persecution on the island.

Pierluisi, who took office Jan. 2 and is a member of the New Progressive Party and is affiliated with the Democratic Party on the US mainland, issued an executive order in January declaring the island to be in a state of emergency due to gender violence, and created the Committee for the Prevention, Support, Rescue and Education on Gender Violence and announced the implementation of the Gender Perspective curriculum.

Carmen Ana González Magaz, the president of the PARE Committee and Secretary of the Department of the Family, has announced that in August the gender perspective curriculum would be implemented in the island's public schools. In July, González said the process will be postponed in order to first train the Department of Education and teachers on gender issues.

In response, the Life and Family Coalition Group said on its website that it will march “to bring a clear and strong message to those who make decisions in the executive and legislative branches”, so that “they desist from integrating the ideology of 'gender' in every educational effort, public policy, regulations, policies and laws. In particular those directed at minors, endangering our rights and freedoms.”