(Jail) Birds Do It

In Canada, anyway.

In Cowansville, Quebec, two gay inmates are planning the first same-sex marriage in the federal penitentiary’s history.

David Bedard, 22, and Sony Martin, 26, are on different cell blocks, but can see each other during lunch, gym and outdoor activity periods.

The two will marry at the prison chapel before a Quebec judge, the CanWest News Service reported.

According to Lucette L’Esperance, assistant warden at the institution, the two will receive no special treatment.

“The fact that they are getting married does not grant them any privileges, they will remain in their respective cell blocks and won’t benefit from private family (conjugal) visits,” L’Esperance said.

What? No conjugal visits? Even here in the states gay jailbird couples get conjugal visits, even though they don’t have the benefit of marriage.

Gay and lesbian inmates in California prisons will have equal access to conjugal visits from their registered domestic partners, the state agency said last week after prodding from the American Civil Liberties Union.

The change followed an application last year from convicted burglar Vernon Foeller, 40, of Sacramento, whose partner contacted the ACLU after being denied a family visit to the state’s Vacaville facility.

The state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ultimately allowed the couple an overnight family visit a week before Christmas. On Wednesday, the agency held a public hearing toward bringing its regulations in line with California’s domestic-partner law.

Foeller, who was serving a 20-month term, was released last month and testified at the hearing.

“I heard from a lot of people inside the prison who thought it was a step forward,” he told on Monday. “People who are doing life terms, or even seven-to-life, can’t get family visits, and they saw what I was doing as a step to roll that back.”

In written testimony to the prison board, Foeller’s partner of nearly seven years said the family visits were especially important because “the attitudes of other inmates, visitors and staff” made him feel uncomfortable in the regular visiting room.

Here’s hoping either Bedard or Martin get paroled or released soon, maybe then they’ll be able to “get it on” as well. After all, they are married. Foeller and partner — who’ve been together at least as long as the hubby and me — can’t marry, and Ah-nold just did what he could to see that it stays that way.

But you know who can and did get married in California?

“Night Stalker” Richard Ramirez.

Ramirez married Doreen Lioy, a freelance magazine editor, in 1996 after an 11-year courtship in which she wrote him 75 letters in prison. He was attracted to her, one of her friends said on her wedding day, because she said she was a virgin.

“Satanists don’t wear gold,” he reportedly told her when they discussed wedding bands.

At the time, Lioy declared herself “ecstatically happy.” She could not be reached for comment for this story, and Messick said he hadn’t seen her around the prison in a long time.

Other women’s interest in Ramirez continues even today, although “from what I gather he’s not real responsive to the mail,” Messick said. “He’s not a big letter writer.”

You can see samples of Ramirez’s work — but consider yourself warned that the images are graphic and very NSFW — here, here and here.

And “Manson Family” member Tex Watson married and divorced while in prison. You can see samples of his work — again with the warning that the images are very graphic and NSFW — here.

And the late Ted Bundy, albeit through manipulating Florida law on courtroom declarations (still something same-sex couples can’t do), managed to get married on his way to death row. He even managed to make a baby, which means he makes the cut for marriage as far as the Maryland Court of Appeals is concerned, despite — and again, the warnings about graphic, NSFW images apply — what he did in his spare time.

What’s my point? Well, as the examples above point out, there is almost nothing you can do to lose the right to marry. Even what these guys did couldn’t lose them the right to marry (even if it did lose them the right to make babies as there are no conjugal visits on death row, though Bundy even found a way around that). It’s that basic a human, civil right. Nothing you do can cause you to lose that right.

Nothing except love another man if you’re a man, or love another woman if you’re a woman.

That. somehow, is worse than anything the jailbirds, the married jailbirds, above ever did.

After all, they can, and we can’t.


Crossposted from The Republic of T.

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