With the General Assembly’s likely overturn of the Domestic Partners Funeral Arrangements bill’s veto by Gov. Carcieri only days away, NOM-RI’s Christopher Plante has issued an entreaty not to overturn the veto — arguing, among other things, that adequate provision already exists under Rhode Island law. To wit:

The right of any person, without regard to sexual preference or relationship to the decedent, to serve as a designated funeral-planning agent is already expressly guaranteed by Rhode Island Law 5-33.1-4. That statute only requires a simple notarized form naming an agent.

Mr. Plante is partly correct and partly not. He is incorrect in that “that statute” in fact describes escrow accounts relating to funeral service contracts. The statute outlining the form of designation is in fact 5-33.3-4.

A mere typo, perhaps. Yet Mr. Plante, a lawyer, got it wrong. And so did the governor, who failed to mention it in his veto statement, most likely because he didn’t even know about it. As also did not Mr. Goldberg, the victim of this state’s cruel and heartless indifference to his plight in the wake of his husband’s death.

Mr. Plante is correct, however, that a simple notarised form can prevent this from happening to anyone ever again. A form that is not so obscure that two of the state’s top self-appointed experts on marriage law can’t identify it. It’s called a marriage certificate.

Mr. Goldberg had one, from the much more enlighened state of Connecticut. And were he married to a woman instead of a man, Rhode Island law would require it to be respected. But instead, our supreme court ruled that same-sex marriage doesn’t exist in this state, as if simply saying so makes that true.

It may be a fact in law, but not in reality. Mr. Goldberg is real. I’ve met him on several occasions and heard him tell his heartwrenching story. Many people act like his is a unique story, but sadly it is not. I’ve heard it before, many times, from many others. And until and unless Rhode Island brings its laws in line with basic human decency, there will continue to be such stories. The only thing unique in Mr. Goldberg’s case is that he didn’t give up in despair, but persisted and stood up to the state.

Let our lawmakers do what is right for Mr. Goldberg and the thousands of others suffering under our backwards laws. And let Mr. Plante be more careful in the future when citing the law. I’m sure his many clients who depend on his care and accuracy will appreciate it.

4 thoughts on “Whoopsie”

  1. Um, hate to break this to you but marriage had changed quite a bit over the centuries.

    Your reference to your God haing mercy on us all, that exposes your root argument against any kind of equality for LGBT people.

    And the courts would disagree with you on your assertion that it isn’t right. It is.

  2. As i suspected, I can tell from this article and the comments with it that this isn’t really about funeral rights, it’s about so-called same-sex marriage. There are already provisions to cover the funeral rights of gay partners, but they are going to push the agenda anyway, at the cost of time and money to a state already in a deep financial crisis.
    True marriage is, has been and always will be the union of one man and one woman. Connecticut and other so-called “enlightened” states legalizing it doesn’t make it right. May God have mercy on us all.

  3. Thank you very much for publishing that correction as well as providing a link to the document. My same-sex MARRIAGE partner (married in MA, living in RI) and I are going to use it immediately.

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