Friday, November 20, 2009
Veto of domestic partners funeral bill sparks protest at R.I. State House
PROVIDENCE — About 150 protesters lit candles in the dark Thursday night and followed a black casket up the walk to the State House steps.
Six pallbearers placed the coffin on the white marble steps, a seventh placed a wreath of white roses upon it, and Joe Roch, 29, of Providence turned to address the somber crowd.
“We’re gathered here tonight out of a mutual sense of anger and frustration at Governor Carcieri’s recent veto of the domestic partners funeral bill” Roch said. He drew applause when he referred to comedian Stephen Colbert’s “shaming” Carcieri on national television. Although Carcieri killed the bill, Roch said, “Tonight we present you not with the mangled, defeated corpse of a dream deferred, but with a greater hunger for progress and equality for every man and woman in Rhode Island.”
Lt. Gov. Elizabeth H. Roberts told those attending the protests that “almost every single member of the House and Senate supported the legislation,” called the governor’s veto “a cruel act” and promised the next session of the General Assembly would overturn the veto. The bill would have added domestic partners to the list of people who can legally make arrangements for a deceased person’s funeral. In his veto message Nov. 10, Carcieri said the decision should be put on the ballot for the voters to decide.