The New York state Department of Corrections has changed its policies to allow conjugal visits for gay inmates who have entered into a same-sex marriage or a civil union. The policy previously applied only to those in traditional marriages.
“If they seek a furlough based on the partner, it’s likely it would be granted,” said Peter Cutler, spokesman for the Department of Correctional Services.
Cutler said the regulation, which appeared in the state Register this week, formalizes a policy change initiated in 2008 by then-Gov. David Paterson, who ordered New York State agencies to recognize same-sex marriages that were legally performed in other states and civil unions.
Marriage equality advocates welcomed the move, saying any recognition of same-sex relationships is a positive step — even when it occurs in the prison system.
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Gay prisoners will also be allowed to to take leave from their cell when their partner is terminally ill.