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Gay Couples Not Allowed At Rhode Island Cemetery


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Gay Couples Not Allowed At Rhode Island Cemetery

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

March 23, 2006 - 12:01 am ET

(Cranston, Rhode Island) A walk through St. Ann's Cemetery in Cranston, Rhode Island is walk through people's lives - the markers tell the stories of 'loving fathers', 'caring wives' and 'devoted couples'.

But not if those couples happen to be gay, as Rick Paolino discovered when he made arrangements for the crypt marker for his late husband Justin.

The Paolino's were married in Massachusetts. Justin, a bus monitor for the West Warwick School Department, died unexpectedly last month at home.

He was burried at St. Ann's. When Rick went to order the inscription on the crypt cemetery officials turned him down when he said he wanted the marker to indicate he was Justin's husband.

They also turned down "spouse" and finally "beloved".

"I just want this to be recognized," Paolino told WJAR in Providence. "In two or three hundred years when that name is there, I want someone to know that this person loved this person."

"It really hurts because I really feel that they've tossed me aside and tossed my feelings aside and my love for a person aside and that person's love for me aside," he told the station.

The cemetery is maintained by the Catholic diocese of Providence. A spokesperson for St. Ann's said it abides by the regulations of the Church and that the diocese has the final word on the type of memorials that can be used in order "to uphold the dignity of the cemetery."

"I said to them, I'm not asking them to recognize gay marriage," Paolino told WJAR. "I'm only asking you to recognize the fact that I loved this person."

Paolino said if the diocese doesn't reconsider, he may consider moving his family's remains to a cemetery in Massachusetts.

©365Gay.com 2006

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