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Er...homophobes in same-sex marriage...


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Not really sure what to make of this...

Gay killers tie the know behind bars in Britain's first known same-sex wedding

I think the families of the victims are wrong to say they should've had a say in whether the two guys could get married, but I'll admit that it's a little unsettling that they've both in prison for murder -- one of them explicitly for murdering a gay guy (the article doesn't state much about the other murderer, but the subtitle indicates his was also a homophobic attack).

I know we all talk about self-hatred driving some homophobia, but still....

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I agree it's unsettling that two murderers marry each other, gay or not. They may not be the best life partners to help each other through changing for the better.

One of the aggrieved relatives seems to have an odd argument, though... he seems to be saying 'they're in prison for homophobic killing, therefore they should not be allowed to come out as gay and marry.' In other words they mustn't be allowed to rehabilitate, to reform, but must live out their previous personas as homophobic killers?

Of course it does seem possible the whole thing's a ruse to get prison authorities to believe they're reformed - what better way, in their case, than a gay marriage? But there's no evidence in this article to support that, and in the absence of such I'm inclined to take the view that it's a positive development in the lives of these very damaged people.

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'I'm inclined to take the view that it's a positive development in the lives of these very damaged people.' Hmm. Methinks you're a ghost writer for a shrink, Bruin. :wink:

Just one wee point: these two aren't actually damaged. Those they beat to death are the damaged ones.

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'I'm inclined to take the view that it's a positive development in the lives of these very damaged people.' Hmm. Methinks you're a ghost writer for a shrink, Bruin. :wink:

Just one wee point: these two aren't actually damaged. Those they beat to death are the damaged ones.

The fact is, these two committed murderers, are indicative of damaged psyches if not being mentally indisposed. This is not to say that culprits become victims after they are tried and sentenced; they are already victims of whatever circumstances lead to their murderous acts. We have laws to punish murderers, that in itself does not make them victims (except where the punishment is cruel and unusual (vindictive). In many cases the victim of a crime and the perpetrator of that crime are indeed both victims of circumstances. This is not to say they shouldn't be punished or held in contempt of society's laws, but they can and often are, victims of their own misdeeds, and what worse punishment is there than to realise every day of the remainder of your life that your own damaged self has caused the death of another human being.

In different ways, both victim and culprit of a crime are damaged. This does not mean that we should ignore either of them being damaged, just that we can see the damages and lament their horrors. The problem here is how we understand and use the term, damaged.

For instance, taking the least likely case for sympathy for a criminal who shows no sense of remorse, it can be said that he is morally damaged beyond measure, but damaged he certainly is.

The victim of a crime is damaged by the act of the culprit. The culprit's damage is not so easily discerned and is why we have courts to administer justice; to adjudicate circumstances and disputes.

How does this affect the (same sex) marriage of two criminal murderers to each other whilst in jail? In the above case of marriage, I don't know the answer to that, but I expect that it is a strong case for debate both in the courts and the public arenas of crime, punishment and morality.

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A common principle, at least in UK jurisprudence, is that prisoners enjoy the same rights as other members of society except where those rights have been explicitly removed by reason of their conviction and subsequent sentence to a period of imprisonment. The right to marry is a universal right in the UK now, after a long fight by the LGBT community. To deny this right to any prisoner, no matter what their crime is, would set a very dangerous precedent. It would effectively say that certain rights are reserved certain groups and if you are not part of that group you have no status to exercise that right.

Personally I think that they have made a mistake by getting married - it would not surprise me at all if National Offender Management Service (NOMS) takes steps to move one of them to a different prison. This has been the general policy within NOMS for many years, that when a relationship is identified between two male prisoners that they should be separated as much as possible. Personally I believe this is a mistake, many prisoners have never been able to establish meaningful relationships on the outside and the fact that they can start to establish such a relationship on the inside should be taken as a positive sign.

From what I have heard from parties within the prison community I understand that NOMS had already taken steps to separate these two men and it was after this that the application to marry was made. If that is the case one can suspect that it might be a reuse being set up by some involved in prison law for an action under Article 8 - the right to a family life. I am aware that in the past this has been looked at when prisoners who had become involved in a relationship have been separated but such cases have always failed to get to the courts as there was no easy way to establish that there was a 'family' entity within the strict legal sense as recognized by the courts. The fact that two prisoners shared a cell for a period of time has not been sufficient to establish there was a 'family' given the fact that they had no choice with respect to the location that they were placed in. One way though that you can show that there is a 'family' within the meaning of Article 8 is to show that the parties are married. As a result I would not be at all surprised to see an application for Judicial Review being made sometime in the future, after one of the parties involved is moved to another establishment.

I have long thought that the position of NOMS with respect to relationships between prisoners is wrong and I am aware that a number of people in the prison system are of the same opinion, so much so that they often turn a blind eye to such relationships even though they are against the rules. A number of relationships that I know of which started in prison have continued after the parties have been released and have resulted in the couples being able to establish mutually beneficial support systems as a result of their relationship.

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