RI Governor Donald Carcieri Vetoes Hate Crimes Expansion

Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri has vetoed a bill that would have expanded hate crimes statutes in the state to include gender identity or expression, EDGE reports:

Carcieri "House Bill 7044/Senate Bill 2055 proposed the addition of gender identity or expression to Rhode Island’s hate crimes statute. Carcieri vetoed the measure because he said the law already addresses actions 'motivated by racial, religious, sexual orientation, gender or disability prejudice.'…Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders encouraged LGBT Rhode Islanders to urge their legislators to override Carcieri’s veto.

'It’s a simple bill but critical for protecting transgender citizens from violence and harassment – protection all Rhode Islanders deserve,' said GLAD executive director Lee Swislow in a statement.

Other LGBT activists criticized the governor’s veto.

'The governor of [RI] has once again shown his disdain for LGBT Rhode Islanders, especially his utter lack of caring about transgender people who face immense harassment and violence based on how they present their gender,' said Susan Heroux of Queer Action. 'One wonders what the governor would do if one of his grandchildren turns out to be gay or transgender. Would he continue to not care about us?'

The Family Research Council, however, praised Carcieri’s actions."

Carcieri's veto is just the latest in a series of actions against LGBT rights.

Late last year, Carcieri vetoed a bill that would have given funeral rights to the domestic partners of gays and lesbians. Rhode Island lawmakers overrode the veto

Carcieri, who is a strong supporter of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), also told a crowd of more than 300 at a fundraiser for the anti-gay group Massachusetts Family Institute that marriage is "not a civil right". Said the governor: "It is a not civil right. I get aggravated when it is portrayed that way. Marriage is a license by the state. It is about a state’s responsibility, which is the reason why states don’t allow a lot of types of marriages."