PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Legislation that would allow public schools to hold father-daughter dances and other gender-segregated activities has become law without the governor's signature, despite calls from women's groups and civil libertarians that it is discriminatory.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee allowed the legislation to become law on Thursday. Spokeswoman Christine Hunsinger told The Providence Journal Chafee believes schools will carry out the spirit of the events, rather than limiting them based on gender.

The Women's Fund of Rhode Island, RI NOW, and the American Civil Liberties Union say the legislation undermines and conflicts with state and federal anti-discrimination laws.

Cranston school officials cancelled a father-daughter dance last year after the ACLU complained on behalf of a single mother whose daughter was not allowed to attend. The school committee asked for a change in the law.