On their first day back to work, Rhode Island’s house members — followed by the state
senate — voted to override Republican governor Donald Carcieri’s veto of a
series of bills, including one that would give domestic partners the
right to claim the bodies of and make funeral arrangements for each other.

The house vote was 67 to 3, and the senate vote was 29 to 3.

Carcieri vetoed the bill last year, saying, "This bill represents a disturbing trend over the past few years of the incremental erosion of the principles surrounding traditional marriage, which is not the preferred way to approach this issue. If the general assembly believes it would like to address the issue of domestic partnerships, it should place the issue on the ballot and let the people of the state of Rhode Island decide."

The bill came about because of the story told to lawmakers by Mark S. Goldberg of his months-long battle last fall to persuade state authorities to release to him for cremation the body of his partner of 17 years, Ron Hanby.

Goldberg told reporters he was "just thankful the [lawmakers] recognized the importance of this bill."

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