RI lawmakers back funeral rights for gays

admin Contributor
Font Size:

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Lawmakers in Rhode Island have voted to give same-sex and unmarried couples the right to plan the funerals of their late partners, overriding a veto by the state’s socially conservative governor.

The General Assembly voted Tuesday by wide margins against the objections of Republican Gov. Don Carcieri (kuh-CHEHR’-ee), who argued the legislation represented an erosion of traditional marriage.

Lawmakers backed the bill after hearing from Mark Goldberg, who struggled for five weeks to recover the body of his same-sex partner. Rhode Island does not recognize gay marriage, and state officials initially refused to release the body because Goldberg was not a relative.

The funeral planning rights also apply to unmarried heterosexual couples.

Opponents of gay marriage fear the limited rights will lead to a wider recognition of gay unions.