Friday, August 29, 2008

California Prisons and Chaplains Deal With Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

AP reported yesterday that California prison officials are trying to determine the impact on prisons and prison chaplains of the California Supreme Court's ruling earlier this year legalizing same-sex marriage. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, in the midst of drafting new regulations on the subject, has decided that the same rules will apply that govern opposite-sex marriage. Inmates will be able to marry, but, for safety and security concerns, marriages between fellow inmates will not be allowed. Last year, California became the first state to allow conjugal visits and overnight stays for inmates with outside same-sex partners. Department lawyers also recommend that prison chaplains stop performing weddings for all inmates and leave that task to outsiders so chaplains who oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds are not in the position of performing ceremonies only for some.