The decision by Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla to support a bill permitting teaching about different sexual orientations in public schools has sparked controversy.

The Coalition for Human Rights on Tuesday supported Garcia Padilla's move to back Senate bill 484, drafted by Sen. Maria Gonzalez Lopez.

The organization said in a press release that if these measures are put into effect, Puerto Rico "will take an important step in eradicating violence and promoting the values of respect, equity and appreciation of diversity."

"In like manner, we congratulate the governor for providing the example and beginning to work on aspects of that education with his children and practicing it in his family life," the coalition added.

Garcia Padilla expressed his support for the bill, saying that he understands that children and teenagers should learn about different sexual orientations.

The coalition criticized the Citizens Coalition in Defense of the Family for criticizing the measure by claiming that the bill would allow "the teaching of homosexual relations in the public schools."

Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the defense of the family group, Evelyn De Jesus, said that Garcia Padilla "has no idea of the impact of his statements" on the issue.

"It's regrettable that in the face of the economic-social crisis that prevails in Puerto Rico our governor is giving priority to complicating the panorama of the education of our children with the teaching of homosexuality in the (island's) schools," she said. EFE