Rhode Island Governor Vetoes Same-Sex Funeral Planning
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Angering gay rights supporters, Rhode Island Gov. Donald Carcieri Tuesday vetoed a bill that would give same-sex couples the right to plan the funerals of their deceased partners.
Calling the bill a “disturbing trend” toward the erosion of heterosexual marriage, Carcieri said the decision should be left up to the voters.
“If the General Assembly believes it would like to address the issue of domestic partnership, it should place the issue on the ballot and let the people of the State of Rhode Island decide,” Carcieri said in a letter to lawmakers.
The bill would require couples to be in a relationship for at least one year and meet other criteria, such as owning property together.
In his veto message, Carcieri said some of the guidelines in the bill were vague.
The governor’s move is another blow to gay-rights supporters in the state. Rhode Island is one of the only states in New England that does not recognize some form of same-sex marriage.
“It is absolutely unconscionable that Gov. Carcieri would step in the middle of people being able to take care of their loved ones at such a sorrowful time,” said Kathy Kushnir, executive director of Marriage Equality Rhode Island, which advocates for gay marriage. “Why would he make it more difficult? I just don’t get it.”
“It is extremely unfortunate the governor continues to believe certain Rhode Islanders should be afforded more civil rights than others,” said state Rept. Frank G. Ferri of Warwick. “This legislation was about simple human dignity and once again the governor feels comfortable denying certain Rhode Islanders equality based on his own personal religious beliefs.”
Democrats have a veto-proof majority in the Rhode Island General Assembly and the bill sponsors said they will seek to override the veto.
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