Gov. Tim Pawlenty

Minnesota’s Republican governor, Tim Pawlenty, on Saturday vetoed a bill passed by the state’s lawmakers that would have given same-sex partners control over the dispensation of their partners’ remains after death. Pawlenty said he vetoed the bill because it “addresses a non-existent problem” (same-sex couples can draw up living wills, he said) and because domestic partners should not be treated the same as married spouses.

In Minnesota, only surviving legally married spouses have the right to decide what to do with the remains of a deceased spouse. And of course, only opposite-gender couples are allowed to be legally married there.

Marriage — defined as between a man and woman — should remain elevated in our society at a special level, as it traditionally has been. I oppose efforts to treat domestic relationships as the equivalent of traditional marriage. Accordingly, I am opposed to this bill,” Pawlenty said.

The legislation, known as the Final Wishes Bill, would also have allowed surviving same-sex domestic partners to sue for recovery of hospital and funeral costs in the event of a wrongful death.

Pawlenty has said he won’t seek re-election as governor and has been rumored as a possible GOP presidential candidate in 2012.

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