Let Them Rot

Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri (R) has vetoed a bill that would have allowed domestic partners to provide for the burial of their loved ones, just as spouses and blood relatives are entitled to do under state law.  

In a veto message, Carcieri said he rejected the bill because the one year minimum requirement for the domestic partnership is not enough to establish a “lasting bond.”  There’s also no reliable way to prove the existence of the relationship since Rhode Island doesn’t recognize domestic partnerships as a general matter. Of course, Carcieri would also oppose creating such a status.

Finally, Carcieri vetoed the burial law to protect “traditional marriage” from “incremental erosion.” 

The legislature passed the bill after hearing testimony from a man whose partner of 17 years went unburied for months while state officials rejected his requests to cremate the body as the dead man wished.  State officials were unmoved by the couple’s wills, living wills, powers of attorney, and a marriage certificate from Connecticut.