Texas Puts an End to Inmate Weddings
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Lovebirds wanting to enter into the institution of marriage in the state of Texas, even though one half of the union is, well, institutionalized within the Texas Department of Corrections, will soon have a better chance of being paroled for a murder conviction than getting married.
That’s because on September 1, lawmakers are all set to welcome House Bill 869 to the books, which no longer allows marriages to take place by proxy – making it a requirement for both the bride and groom to be present at the actual wedding.
In the past, couples have had the right to appoint a stand-in to participate as a proxy for the bride or groom sitting behind bars. And even though inmates still have the right to get married (1987 U.S. Supreme Court), changes to the policy will now make it next to impossible to do while they are incarcerated.
According to a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the bill was put in place as a means for controlling fraudulent marriages that were staged for the sole purpose of receiving insurance or benefits. Supporters of the bill say that unscrupulous people were taking advantage of the system by marrying an incarcerated party, without their knowledge, and then collecting their insurance benefits after they had died.