Rhode Island's socially conservative Republican Gov. Donald Carcieri has vetoed HB 7044/SB 2055, which proposed the addition of gender identity or expression to the state's hate crimes statute, reports EDGE Boston.
"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."
House Speaker Gordon D. Fox, who is black and openly gay, criticized the governor's action but added "no decision has been made" on a veto override.
Carcieri's veto is just the latest entry to a long résumé of anti-LGBT actions. Last November, the governor received national attention after his mean-spirited veto of a bill that granted funeral decision-making rights to same-sex couples. Rhode Island's legislature easily overrode the veto.
The governor’s term expires in January.