California To Let Inmates Marry Same-Sex Partners

by Gillian White

Gay couples in California will be allowed to marry their partners, even if their significant other is serving time.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has said that same sex couples would be allowed to marry in cases where one partner is incarcerated, a privilege long allowed only for heterosexual couples.

In a memo released last week, M.D. Stainer, director of the Division of Adult Institutions wrote, “Effective immediately, all institutions must accept and process applications for a same sex marriage between an inmate and a non-incarcerated person in the community, in the same manner as they do marriages between opposite sex couples.”

The right for couples to obtain marriage licenses was a part of the deal when the Supreme Court overturned Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriages within the state, back in June.

But apparently not everyone was listening. According to San Francisco Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, the memo came about because some prisons were interpreting the law in a way that precluded them from granting marriages to same sex couples.

But what about cases where both partners are in prison? No marriages between inmates will be allowed in those cases for now. According to officials, gay couples within the confines of prison walls will not be able to get hitched due to "security concerns."

Same-sex marriages resumed in California this summer.