Two Men Convicted For Murdering Gays Become First Gay Couple To Marry In Prison

| by Jonathan Constante
Marc Goodwin and Mikhail Gallatinov.Marc Goodwin and Mikhail Gallatinov.

Two convicted murderers who killed gay people have married each other in prison in Britain, The Guardian reports.

Mikhail Gallatinov, 40, is a convicted pedophile who was imprisoned in 1997 for the strangling death of Adrian Kaminsky, a 28-year-old man he met on a gay chat line.

During his sentencing, Judge Rhys Davies called Gallatinov’s actions a “cold-blooded, well-planned, callous, chilling and apparently motiveless killing.”

Marc Goodwin, 31, was imprisoned in 2007 for the homophobic killing of 57-year-old Malcolm Benfold. Police described the murder as “a savage, senseless homophobic attack that resulted in the death of a harmless man.”

Now, the two men who were convicted in the deaths of other gay men have made history by becoming the first same-sex couple to get married in prison.

Both men are serving their sentences at Full Sutton prison in East Yorkshire, England. The facility is known as one of Britain’s toughest prisons, according to BuzzFeed News.

They held their wedding ceremony in the prison’s visitors’ center, where they were joined by other inmates, close family members and a few prison officers.

In their vows, they said that they were “soul partners” who would be “forever together.”

A source that frequently visits the prison told The Guardian that their relationship had been well known for quite some time.

“These two guys were on separate wings at Full Sutton and used to meet — and have sex — in the prison library,” the unnamed source said. “Then they managed to get on the same wing and have sex regularly.”

The marriage was made possible by the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act, which was introduced last year. The Marriage Act of 1983 had previously allowed for inmates to get married at the place of their detention and the Civil Partnerships Act of 2004 allowed for gay inmates to get married in prison.

Gallatinov’s parents, who were present at the wedding, told the Manchester Evening News that they were “proud” of their son for being a “small part of history.”

“If you find love you have to go for it — even if it is in prison,” said Allen Abdulla, Gallatinov’s father.

The newlywed’s mother, Christina Williams, agreed and added that her son was heartbroken when his last in-prison boyfriend was transferred. She said she is glad her son “found love again.”

But not everyone is happy with the love story.

The brother of Goodwin’s victim told the Daily Mirror that he thinks the ceremony should not have been allowed. He also believes the two convicted murderers got married as a ploy to get an early release from prison.

“How can you go out and kill a man for being gay and then have a gay wedding in prison? I can’t see any logic in it,” Tony Benfold said. “It has crossed my mind that this could be a trick to get early release by showing they have built new lives.”

Benfold added that he believes neither of the newlyweds received a severe enough sentence. He said, “They seem to get to do what they want in prison while my family are left to suffer.”

Gallatinov was sentenced to a minimum of 20 years, which was upheld in 2009. He is being considered for parole next year. Goodwin was sentenced to a minimum of 18 years and will likely serve an additional 10, The Guardian reported.

Still, Peter Tatchell, an ambassador for a U.K. penal reform association, told BuzzFeed News that marriage is for everyone.

“Marriage is a human right for same-sex couples and even for people whose lives we may find reprehensible,” Tatchell said.

He added that while Gallatinov and Goodwin “committed horrific murders,” the “aim of prison is to also reform and rehabilitate offenders. … Being in love and married might help stabilize these men, giving them a focus away from a life of crime.”

Sources: The Guardian, Daily Mirror, Buzzfeed News

Photo Credit: British Police via The Guardian