Rhode Island governor open to domestic partnerships

Gov Don CarcieriPROVIDENCE — Two days after vetoing a bill giving domestic partners the right to make funeral decisions for each other, a conciliatory Governor Don Carcieri told a gay-rights activist group he is open to supporting a domestic-partnership law that bestows many if not all of the rights of marriage, without the right to marry, the Providence Journal reports.

“Maybe it’s something we should consider,” said Carcieri, after meeting privately Thursday for more than an hour in his office with a half-dozen members of Queer Action of Rhode Island, a group that in the immediate aftermath of his veto had labeled him “a bigot.”

Among those attending was Mark Goldberg, the Providence East Sider whose five-week battle to claim the body of his partner of 17 years from the state morgue, had sparked the vetoed legislation.

Citing as a possible model the “everything but marriage” referendum that won approval in the state of Washington earlier this month, Carcieri said: “I don’t know enough, yet. All I am saying is I understand the circumstances. I understand the difficulties” that can arise for same-sex couples and others — such as widows living with widowers, and widows with other widows — outside the legal framework of a traditional marriage.

“Let’s see if we can find a way to solve that without discreet [pieces] of legislation every time something comes up. I just don’t think that is the right way to deal with it,” he said.

Full story at the Providence Journal.

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