Saying it was a “disturbing erosion” of the “principles surrounding traditional marriage,” today Rhode Island Gov. Donald Carcieri vetoed a bill that would allow same-sex couples to make burial decisions about each other. Carcieri added that if the legislature didn’t like that, he would welcome a statewide ballot vote on how to bury queers. (I’m paraphrasing.)
The bill, also sponsored by state Sen. Rhoda Perry and state Rep. David Segal, would add “domestic partners” to the list, in current law, of people who can legally make arrangements for a deceased person’s funeral, cremation or burial to include domestic partners if the deceased person left no pre-arranged funeral contract. The legislation defines a domestic partner as someone who was in an “exclusive, intimate and committed relationship” with the deceased and had lived with him or her for at least a year prior to the death; is at least 18, not married to anyone else, not related by blood and who was financially “interdependent” with the deceased as evidenced, for example, by a joint mortgage, shared credit card or domestic partnership contract.
Carcieri said the one-year period of cohabitation required by the burial law was insufficient to override what may be the contrary burial wishes of the biological family of the deceased. Meanwhile, heterosexual couples that have known each other for ten minutes will instantly gain that right upon marriage.