Rhode Island Legislature Overrides Veto Of Partner Funeral Rights Bill

As expected, today the Rhode Island legislature voted to override Gov. Don Carcieri’s hateful veto of a bill granting same-sex partners the right to make burial decisions about each other.

The House — and then the Senate — voted to override Republican Carcieri’s veto of a bill giving domestic partners the right to claim the bodies of — and make funeral arrangements for — their loved ones. The House vote was 67 to 3 and the Senate vote was 29 to 3. The only one of dueling defense-of-marriage, same-sex marriage and gay-rights bills introduced in Rhode Island last year that cleared the General Assembly, the legislation was an outgrowth of the personal tale that Mark S. Goldberg told lawmakers about his months-long battle last fall to persuade state authorities to release to him for cremation the body of his partner of 17 years, Ron Hanby.

In his veto message, Carcieri said: “This bill represents a disturbing trend over the past few years of the incremental erosion of the principles surrounding traditional marriage, which is not the preferred way to approach this issue. “If the General Assembly believes it would like to address the issue of domestic partnerships, it should place the issue on the ballot and let the people of the State of Rhode Island decide,” he wrote.