Rick Paolino’s gay civil partner Justin died suddenly at home last month and was buried at St Ann’s Cemetery. When he went back a month later to order the inscription on the gravestone, he was shocked when cemetery officials turned down his requests for the words “late husband”, “spouse” and even “beloved”.

Bereaved Mr Paolino feels that he would like their relationship to be acknowledged. “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 comes under the Catholic diocese of Providence who have the final say on headstone inscriptions with a view to “to uphold the dignity of the cemetery”

Mr Paolino said that he wasn’t asking the Catholic church to recognise gay marriages, but his love for his late partner and if the diocese failed to reconsider his inscription request, he would consider transferring Justin’s remains to a cemetery in Massachusetts near where the couple married.