Blue State, Red Governor24 November, 2009
When I graduated from college with an honours degree in history, I moved to Rhode Island and spent about a year selling cars (well, it was a history degree, right?). I enjoyed Rhode Island. Nice state. Rather liberal. Delightfully bizarre. But, like the rest of New England, definitely a blue state.
The General Assembly of Rhode Island passed a law which allows domestic partners ((all quotes from the Providence Journal) defined as “”exclusive, intimate and committed relationship” with the deceased and had lived with him or her for at least a year prior to the death; is at least 18, not married to anyone else, not related by blood and who was financially “interdependent”) to bill that would have added “domestic partners” to the list of people authorized by law to make funeral arrangements for each other (okay, that quote is from the newspaper, but the link is to the state house bill).
That sounds reasonable. If a couple live together, if their lives are entwined emotionally and financially, they should be allowed to plan funerals for each other. Who could possibly be against that?
Well, the governor of Rhode Island, for one:
Republican Carcieri said: “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.["]
Traditional marriage? So if a 90-year-old man marries an 18-year-old twit with an annoying Cranston whine (even more grating than Fran Drescher’s) and croaks three days later, the twit can plan a funeral. But two men (or two women, or a man and a woman) who live together for a year (or more!) in “exclusive, intimate and committed relationship” and were financially ”interdependent” cannot do the same for each other? What lame-ass excuse could the governor possibly give?
[H]e believes a “one year time period is not a sufficient duration to establish a serious bond between two individuals…[relative to] sensitive personal traditions and issues regarding funeral arrangements, burial rights and disposal of human remains.”
So do you suppose he will be asking the state house to pass a bill limiting the funereal rights of those married less than one year? I doubt it.
Carcieri said he was also uncertain “how it would be ascertained in many circumstances whether [a couple] had been in a relationship for year” since there is “no official or recognized form” of domestic partnership agreement in Rhode Island. He called this proviso “vague and ill-defined.”
You have got to be shitting me. Conservatives (usually Republicans) stand foursquare against any recognition of human rights including (but not limited to): gay marriage, gay partnerships, gays, living gays, etc. And now this Republican governor claims that since there is no official recognition he doesn’t know how the relationship would be ascertained? Bullshit.
According to one of the representatives in the state house,
Describing himself as ”genuinely upset” by Carcieri’s actions, Rep. Segal said: “‘I think the man is heartless and this has become a bad joke that has carried on for far too long.” The joke? “His insistent, persistent need to assert himself by undermining the lives of gay people who love each other and want to be in committed relationships.”
Segal said Carcieri took his adamant opposition to same-sex marriage too far, since this “doesn’t change the definition of the word ‘marriage,’ as evidenced by the fact the “overwhelming majority of people in the General Assembly who oppose gay marriage saw fit to support the legislation. ”
I guess the governor is a subscriber to Santorum’s ‘man-on-dog’ slippery slope reducto ad absurdum argument. If we allow them to plan funerals then they will want weddings and then they will want to be married and then they will want to marry their dogs and then they will tear down the entire foundation of western civilization (which is, of course, so weak that allowing civil rights to all humans will destroy it). By stopping teh gay planning funerals for their partners, he is preventing the destruction of the western world.
Ladies and gentlemen of Rhode Island (and every other state, for that matter), no matter how progressive or moderate or non-batshit-crazy a GOP candidate appears, he or she will, nine out of ten times, revert to form, will begin spouting anti-gay, teabagger, Beckist, Limbaughite neoconservative radical right wing bullshit. Oh, sure, during the election, they may talk a good game, but to remain in the GOP, a candidate, an office-holder, must hold fast to, at a minimum, 80%, of the Republican Party’s purity test. If they don’t, they lose the money.
So the question remains: why do blue states elect GOP governors? And why are the citizens in the blue states surprised when they embrace the neoconservative fantasies?