With the demise of Proposition 8 — the gay marriage ban — gay inmates in California can get married to their same-sex partners, the Associated Press has reported.
In an August 30 memo, state prison officials stated that due to the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that “effectively invalidated” Proposition 8, they “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 between opposite sex couples.”
In case you didn't notice the wording, there is a caveat in that statement…
While a gay inmate can marry a person who is not jailed, two gay inmates cannot get married.
California prison officials state in the memo that there are “security concerns and other legitimate penological interests” for why two gay inmates cannot wed.
It'll be interesting to see if someone challenges that ruling with a lawsuit.
In the meantime, same-sex marriages between an inmate and someone who's not incarcerated can only take place at a jail facility where the inmate is held, but a prison chaplain can refuse to marry the couple based on religious grounds.
So prison officials will allow a person who is “lawfully authorized” to come in and perform the ceremony.