Gay Inmates in California Have Right to Marry, Prison Chaplain Has Right to Refuse to Marry Them

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Gay inmates in California can now marry their non-incarcerated partners, a memo from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has revealed.

Prison officials announced they “must accept and process applications for same-sex marriage between an inmate and non-incarcerated person in the community, in the same manner as they do between opposite sex couples.”

The decision was announced on 30 August, following suit of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Proposition 8, which made same sex marriage in California illegal.

The memo was meant to clarify questions raised concerning same sex marriage in regards to current incarcerated inmates.

This decision will allow prisoners convicted of any crime to apply to the state for a marriage license. However, a prison chaplain can refuse to marry a couple on religious grounds, complying with laws for free citizens. If that’s the case, “another person who is lawfully authorized to perform marriages may be substituted,” according to the memo.

Additionally, California convicts will not be able to wed each other. The same memo states: “A currently incarcerated inmate,” due to safety concerns.

In the UK, inmates can marry each other. Serial killer Alfredo Stranieri and murderer Germain Gaiffe, who beheaded a man, married in July.

In the United States as a whole, gay marriage is still illegal for 70 percent of its citizens, reports the Daily Mail. In Indiana, gay couples applying for marriage outside prison can be given up to three years in jail.

Source: The Daily Mail