In addition to being a time-honored institution, marriage has been a hard-won civil right in America. So can inmates in jail or prison take part in the legal sanctity of marriage?
Good news for jail birds and love birds: In most cases, it is possible for prisoners to legally marry their spouses — even if they’re serving life sentences.
So before you start asking the prison commissary if it carries wedding invitations, check out these legal facts about marriage behind bars:
Right to Marry Still Afforded to Inmates
The Supreme Court recognized that marriage was a fundamental right in Loving v. Virginia, but it also recognized in a later case that even prisoners have that fundamental right.
In Turner v. Safley in 1987, the High Court determined that a regulation that prevented inmates from marrying without the permission of the warden violated those inmates’ fundamental rights to marry. Following that case, prisons have allowed inmates to marry — even Charles Manson was able to obtain a marriage license.
State Gay Marriage Rules Still Apply
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Source:: Law Blog