New Texas Law Unintentionally Bars Proxy Marriages For Prison Inmates


Texas has inadvertently banned proxy marriages for prison inmates, reports the Associated Press. A new state law requires both parties to be present during a marriage ceremony, and the Texas prison system doesn’t allow ceremonies. The law was meant to stop people from fraudulently marrying an individual and cashing in on their unwitting spouse’s benefits. It unintentionally affects prison inmates, which may conflict with U.S. Supreme Court rulings that upheld a prisoner’s right to marry. “I don’t think (prison officials) should put a hold on someone’s love,” said one inmate who wants to marry.

Before the law took effect in September, a prisoner could get married by having someone else, a proxy, stand in and exchange vows during a ceremony before a justice of the peace. Because both parties now must attend the ceremony, inmates sentenced to life in prison or death can’t marry at all. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice says the prison system has no plans to change its rules, deeming such prison ceremonies a security risk.

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