Rhode Island has quietly become the third state to extend civil rights protections to transsexuals and cross-dressers.
The Senate approved the measure June 28, the final day of its session, with little debate. Republican Gov. Lincoln Almond allowed it to become law without his signature.
"We thought it would be very controversial," said Tina Wood, spokeswoman for the Rhode Island Alliance for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights. But legislators "seemed to understand it was an issue of basic human rights."