California prisons respond to change in marriage law

A few months ago the Supreme Court in the State of California ruled that laws which made same-gender marriages illegal were in violation of the state Constitution’s equal-protection clause. The resulting scramble to change existing regulations has resulted in a few bumps along the way. The state’s Department of Corrections has responded by deciding to now recommend that prison chaplains stop performing any marriages for inmates.

From a report by the Religion Clause:

“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.”

Read the full article here.

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