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Rhode Island Senate Votes for a Single Domestic Partnership Right

Timothy Kincaid

June 3rd, 2009

Domestic Partners may be recognized in Rhode Island. But only once they are dead.

Providence Journal:

the Senate on Tuesday approved a bill giving “domestic partners” the right to claim the bodies of — and make funeral arrangements for — their loved ones.

A domestic partner is defined in the measure as “a person who prior to the decedent’s death was in an exclusive, intimate and committed relationship with the decedent.”

This is important in that if it passes the House, the State of Rhode Island will recognize that same-sex couples do have exclusive, intimate and committed relationships and that they are worth consideration. While this is not much compared to their neighbors, it’s a start.

And the story behind this bill shows all too clearly that the claims that “gay people can get the same rights through contracts and legal documents” is a cruel lie.

Mark S. Goldberg told a Senate committee about his months-long battle last fall to persuade state authorities to release to him the body of his partner of 17 years, Ron Hanby, so he could grant Hanby’s wish for cremation — only to have that request rejected too because “we were not legally married or blood relatives.”

Goldberg said he tried to show the police and the state medical examiner’s office “our wills, living wills, power of attorney and marriage certificate” from Connecticut, but “no one was willing to see these documents.”

He said he was told the medical examiner’s office was required to conduct a two-week search for next of kin, but the medical examiner’s office waited a full week before placing the required ad in a newspaper. And then when no one responded, he said, they “waited another week” to notify another state agency of an unclaimed body.

Comments

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KZ
June 3rd, 2009 | LINK

So now it is easier for gays in Rhode Island to make funeral arrangements for their dead partners.

“How dare they! How dare they pass this society-damaging legislation!” cried Maggie Gallagher.

steve
June 3rd, 2009 | LINK

BOYCOTT NOW>>>this is f**king ridiculous…not a penny to be spent by GLBT commmunity!!!!!

Richard Rush
June 3rd, 2009 | LINK

I guess we should be grateful, just as a hungry homeless person would be grateful to receive permission to forage for food in the dumpster in back of the country club after all the members leave for the night.

Matt
June 3rd, 2009 | LINK

Gotta start somewhere, I guess.

Bruno
June 3rd, 2009 | LINK

Look at it this way: Rhode Island’s ignored us so completely, they forgot to pass laws barring us from marrying. Even though we still can’t marry there somehow. But we can choose begonias or chrysanthemums for the service.

Jason21TX
June 3rd, 2009 | LINK

If only gay people could make the funeral arrangements for the dead homophobes.

In the old days, the some mobs owned dog food factories. Need I say more.

Is your pet every now and then really really licking its chops….mmmmmmmm

Leonard Drake
June 3rd, 2009 | LINK

With this legislation, the Rhode Island Legislature appears to indicate gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Rhode Islanders are of more worth and value dead than alive. I don’t know how to call that progress in the quest for civil rights.

occono
June 4th, 2009 | LINK

So they don’t recognize out-of-state marriages then?

Mike Airhart
June 5th, 2009 | LINK

Here in Rhode Island, our current governor, Don Carcieri, is an incompetent Republican who, obsessed with cutting state spending regardless of consequence, has helped to cripple the state’s economic recovery efforts.

He has also vowed to veto any laws that promote equality, including legislation defending health insurance benefits for lesbians.

Source: Edge Providence

While Rhode Island is in some respects the birthplace of American freedom of religion, unfortunately Roman Catholic bias remains strong among legislators. So there are not enough votes to override the governor.

It seems that change will not come to R.I. before the current governor leaves office in 2011.

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