Marriage Behind Bars: Judge Rules Missouri Law Can't Block Inmates From Tying the Knot

Categories: Crime, News

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As the United States Supreme Court takes up gay marriage this week, in Missouri there's been progress in a different kind of marriage equality battle: the right to tie the knot behind bars.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri has been fighting for months on behalf of a group of inmates who reportedly could not obtain their marriage licenses and thus were unable to marry their loved ones.

"When you have a fundamental right -- and the right to marry is a fundamental right -- you can't put barriers in place that completely extinguish that right," Tony Rothert, ACLU-EM legal director tells Daily RFT.

And after much delay, a group of couples yesterday were able to get married in prison. How?

Rothert tells us that he's aware of three couples that married yesterday after waiting for many months. The original lawsuit was on behalf of five couples -- women not incarcerated who wanted to marry their fiances behind bars.

The problem was at the Jefferson City Correctional Center where planned marriage ceremonies last year were cancelled when couples had no way to get their required licenses. The obstacle was a Missouri statute that mandates both parties sign a marriage license in the presence of the recorder of deeds -- which proved problematic for some inmates.

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Rothert says that the Cole County recorder and local correction officials could not reach some agreement that would allow these inmates to sign the license in person and for that reason, their planned ceremonies about six months ago were put on hold.

That is until U.S. District Judge Fernando Gaitan, Jr. ruled last week that this statute in question is unconstitutional when an applicant is incarcerated.

"You don't lose the right to marry when you go to prison," Rothert says.

Continue for more details on the ruling and response from the attorney general's office.

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The State has every right under the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution to bar prisoners from being married (if they are not already).

13th Amendment:

 Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, EXCEPT

 *as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted*, 

shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.


The 13th Amendment exempts people under involunatry servitude, that is jails and prisons are not free men and do not have the same rights and (obviously) freedoms as such. The State owns them, tells them when to wake up, go to sleep, feeds them from their menu (unless they have extra money for commissary). Prisoners who work are not required to be paid the minimum wage, but a paltry sum like 15 cents an hour.

Prisoners to have some rights, but it is much curtailed and constitutionally are slaves. The State is the Master.Prisoners have some rights only because the State allows it

Nor should prisoners be allowed to get married and especially not conjugal visits. Sorry lady, if your partner gets sent up river for 15 years, you may want to find another partner (because your's is a fking loser).

The younger of the Menendez brothers, a mutant named Erik (with a k) married a woman named Tammy Saccoman. Now Erik himself will never be paroled and there is no chance that these two will be together and there is no conjugal visits. Now Tammy is an attractive woman, and I would think, somewhat of a dope. I truly believe in small government and non interference, but I also believe that a role of government is true protection of the people, and saving dopes like Tammy Saccoman from their stupid decisions like marrying a lifer is a role of government. I dont think even Libertarians or Ron Paul could say different.

Peggy Keller
Peggy Keller

They used this argument today when SCOTUS was questioning the right to gay marriage. SCOTUS said marriage is a right- according to this law.

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