- Associated Press - Thursday, February 18, 2016

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - The Idaho Department of Correction is revisiting its policy on same-sex marriage after an inmate threatened to take the agency to court.

A prisoner at the South Boise Women’s Correctional Center was denied permission to marry her female partner, reported KTVB-TV (https://bit.ly/1WueNhH ).

“They can’t prohibit this marriage solely on the basis that her fiance - who is outside prison system - also happens to be a woman,” said the woman’s attorney, Deborah Ferguson.

The agency’s policy says they must hold weddings for inmates to marry someone of the opposite sex. It also requires IDOC to conform to state law, and Idaho has recognized same-sex marriage since 2014.

Ferguson said her client followed a three-step process to address grievances within the prison system, but that didn’t work. IDOC recognized a need to reform the policy, Ferguson said, but she told them she would file a lawsuit if necessary since the policy hadn’t been updated a year after Idaho began recognizing such marriages.

The attorney and her client sat down with the IDOC director and he said the agency would update its policy, Ferguson told KTVB-TV.

“IDOC is currently reviewing its marriage policy and will make any necessary changes to comply with legal requirements while also maintaining the safety and security of its facilities,” the Department of Correction said in a statement provided to KTVB.

IDOC said the review should be complete by March 1.

Ferguson says several prisoners have approached her about the issue. She anticipates several same-sex weddings in prison if the policy is changed.

“A prison system, I mean, that’s a very large state system,” she said, “and I’m glad to see that they, too, are going to be following the law.”


Information from: KTVB-TV, https://www.ktvb.com/

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