Now that same-sex couples can get married in California, state prison officials are drafting guidelines to bring the state’s 33 adult prisons into compliance with the court’s ruling that same-sex couples must be treated the same as opposite-sex couples, reports the Associated Press. They will allow gay inmates to marry someone on the outside, but not a fellow prisoner – the same rules that apply to straight inmates. No prisoners so far have sought to arrange weddings with same-sex partners since the state Supreme Court granted same-sex couples the right to wed as of mid-June.
Prison officials were concerned that allowing two men or two women in the same prison to get married would pose novel safety and security concerns. “For instance, suppose a prisoner finds out another prisoner has money or other assets. They might find themselves coerced into a marriage with a more powerful inmate who might try to lay claim to half their assets,” said a corrections spokeswoman. Last year, California became the first state to allow conjugal visits and overnight stays for inmates with same-sex partners in the civilian population, The department also does not have a recent count of how many of the 125,000 adults in its custody get married each year. An average of two weddings each month take place at the medium security prison in Solano that houses 6,000 inmates.