Today in Rhode Island, a bill that would allow same-sex couples to make burial decisions about each other passed the state Senate unanimously and the Assembly overwhelmingly, only to be vetoed by Gov. Don Carcieri on the grounds that it is a "disturbing erosion" of the "principles surrounding traditional marriage."
In an almost flawlessly executed catch-22 with a double twisting dismount, Carcieri stated that "he was also uncertain 'how it would be ascertained in many circumstances whether [a couple] had been in a relationship for year' since there is 'no official or recognized form'' of domestic partnership agreement in Rhode Island."
Ooooh, you're good, Gov. You've caught us. Our days of making fun-filled funeral arrangements in Rhode Island, and paying for the burial or cremation of any old body we want to, just for the hell of it, are over.
You can read about the veto here:
As the comments pointed out, there will probably be an override of the veto, but there's no overriding the hatred that led to it ... couched, as it was, in good intentions about family and tradition.
One of the many places that Carcieri's argument falls apart is that, in many cases, we're all we've got. For some of us, there is no family who wants anything to do with us, dead or alive. Others of us have families waiting in the wings for just such an occasion so they can punish our partners. Some of us have families from whom the only protection we and our partners have is each other. We don't want our screwed up families making the decisions our life partners should be making. Oh, silly me, that's the point, isn't it? To stand between us and those basic rights we want.
I've been wracking my brain, but I can't think of any group of people in the United States who were prevented by law from burying their dead. If we are to have no rights in life, can we not, at the very least, be afforded some small measure of dignity when we're dead?