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RI Gov Called Cruel to Gays


Rhode Island attorney general and Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Patrick Lynch (pictured) has lambasted Republican governor Don Carcieri as "cruel and heartless" for vetoing a bill that would allow members of same-sex couples to make funeral arrangements for their partners.

"By vetoing this bill, he has demonstrated that he believes gay and lesbian Rhode Islanders are second-class citizens," Lynch said in a press release circulated Thursday, reported Providence television station ABC 6 on its website. Lynch pledged to sign such legislation if it comes to him as governor.

In his veto message Tuesday, Carcieri called the legislation part of the "incremental erosion of the principles surrounding traditional marriage." It would have added domestic partners to the list of people authorized to make funeral arrangements for a person who had left no prearranged contract. It was designed to apply to either same-sex or opposite-sex partners who met certain criteria for a committed, exclusive relationship, its sponsors said.

Carcieri said if legislators want to grant rights to domestic partners, they should put the question to the voters.

Carcieri will not be eligible to run for reelection in 2010 because of term limits. Lynch and state general treasurer Frank Caprio are both seeking the Democratic nomination, while businessman Rory Smith is the only declared Republican candidate so far. Former U.S. senator Lincoln Chafee is running as an independent.

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