Prison Inmates in California Can Now Marry Same-Sex Partners

PHOTO: Prison Inmates in California Can Now Marry Same-Sex PartnersRendering by Jorge Rivas/Fusion with photo provided by CDCR.
Pleasant Valley State Prison

Inmates in California prisons will now be permitted to marry same-sex partners who are not incarcerated, state officials announced Tuesday. The announcement comes about two-months after the Supreme Court upheld an earlier district court's decision that allowed same-sex partners in California to marry.

"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," stated the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's memorandum to wardens.

Terminology on wedding applications will not be updated, at least for the time being.

The terms "bride" and "groom" in wedding applications "shall be interpreted to be gender neutral where necessary (i.e., "bride" may be a male and "groom" may be a female in a same-sex marriage)", the memo noted.

The memo went on to point out in instances where the institution/facility Chaplain objects to officiating a same-sex marriage ceremony on religious grounds, "another person who is lawfully authorized to perform marriages may be substituted."

CDCR says marriages between two inmates will not be permitted, due in part to “security concerns.”