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Female inmates
marry each other behind bars in Canada

Female inmates
marry each other behind bars in Canada

Two female inmates have tied the knot behind bars in Canada. The women were married by a minister on Sunday night in a small ceremony at the Edmonton Institution for Women, the Edmonton Sun reported. Officials have not identified the women. "It's certainly a first for the Edmonton Institution for Women," said assistant warden Gary Sears. The women were married in their street clothes, said Sears, and were allowed to complete the ceremony without handcuffs. Still, they remained under the watchful eye of prison guards the whole time, he said. The wedding night was a lonely one for the couple. Prison policy prevents them from consummating the union, and they remain in separate cells. It isn't the first same-sex marriage behind bars in Canada, but it may be a first for women. Two men were married at Ontario's Bath Institution in November. Murray Billett, a prominent member of Edmonton's gay community, called the union "outstanding." But Kevin Grabowsky, the Prairie region president of the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers, said his union opposes the marriage. "It's the value and ethics of getting married in jail while they're serving time together in the same institution," said Grabowsky. "It's not Club Fed, where you go and meet your spouse." One of the inmates is serving a 34-month sentence for breaking and entering, assault with a weapon, and aggravated assault and is scheduled for release on November 18, Sears said. The second inmate was jailed for six years for manslaughter, assault, and assaulting a peace officer. She is scheduled for release on December 6. Grabowsky, whose union represents guards at the women's prison, said the marriage could threaten security. He suggested one woman might try to exact revenge if her spouse got into an argument with a guard. "What if they have a marital spat? What if one of them gets transferred? Would the other one have to be transferred?" he asked. Sears said Correctional Service Canada officials investigated the risk to staff, other inmates, and visitors before allowing the marriage to go ahead. He also said guards and the prison's administration will monitor the case closely to ensure there are no problems. Same-sex marriage has been legal in Canada since 2005. (AP)

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