Gov. Don Carcieri (kuh-CHEHR'-ee), a gay marriage opponent, has opened the door slightly to the limited recognition of same-sex relationships in Rhode Island.
The Republican governor still opposes gay marriage and said during the 2006 election that he opposed civil unions for same-sex couples.
But after a closed-door meeting with a gay rights group, Carcieri told reporters Thursday he would consider creating a domestic partnership system similar to one approved this month by voters in Washington state. That Washington plan will allow same-sex couples benefits such as the right to use sick leave to care for a domestic partner and rights related to adoption, child custody and child support.
Rhode Island's most vocal gay rights group has been lobbying exclusively for gay marriage.