Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri
told a group of gay activists Thursday he would be open to consider a
gay-inclusive domestic partnership law, the Providence Journal
“Maybe it's something we should
consider,” Carcieri said.
“I don't know enough, yet. All I am
saying is I understand the circumstances. I understand the
difficulties,” he added.
The meeting with gay rights group Queer
Action Rhode Island came two days after the governor vetoed a bill
that would have given gay couples the same rights to plan the
funerals of their late partners as married couples.
Carcieri, a Republican, said he
rejected the legislation because it would erode heterosexual
“If the General Assembly believes it
would like to address the issue of domestic partnership, it should
place the issue on the ballot and let the people of the State of
Rhode Island decide,” the governor said in a letter to lawmakers.
Carcieri dismissed calls to cancel a
scheduled appearance before the anti-gay group Massachusetts Family
Institute (MFI) at its 18th Annual Fundraising Banquet,
where he told attendees that gay marriage was not a civil right. The
governor also backs an effort to place a gay marriage ban in the
Rhode Island Constitution. In the spring, he and his wife, Sue,
joined the state's newly minted chapter of the National Organization
for Marriage, the nation's most vociferous opponent of gay marriage.
Queer Action Rhode Island requested the
meeting shortly after the governor's MFI appearance.
Susan Heroux, spokeswoman for the
group, told the paper that she was “really happy” that “they
are willing to look at our issues. They are willing to talk to us.”
She called the meeting “progress.”
But gay activists who have waited
patiently 12 years for the Legislature to approve a gay marriage bill
are more than likely not willing to settle for a domestic partnership
bill. Especially considering four other New England states offer
full marriage and Carcieri, a major obstacle to passing a gay
marriage bill in Rhode Island, will be term-limited out of office