Mikhail Gallatinov and Marc Goodwin are two UK prisoners currently serving life sentences and are about to go down as possibly the first gay couple to be married in a British prison.
According to a report from the Independent, the two convicted murderers are scheduled to be wed next Monday. Gallatinov and Goodwin are to marry at Sutton View, Moor Lane, Full Sutton, although the official notice does not state that the wedding will occur at the prison.
Gallatinov was jailed in 1997 for the murder of Adrian Kaminsky, who he met on a gay chat line. Goodwin was sentenced in 2007 for beating 57-year-old Malcolm Benfold to death on Blackpool seafront.
Speaking to the Guardian, an unnamed source said the relationship between the two men is well known within the walls of Full Sutton prison, which houses some of the UK’s most dangerous prisoners.
“These two guys were on separate wings at Full Sutton and used to meet – and have sex – in the prison library. Then they managed to get on the same wing and had sex regularly.”
Full Sutton itself allegedly has a group that caters to gay, bisexual, and transgender prisoners known as the “Rainbow” group. Health care staff distribute condoms to prisoners who ask for them and heterosexual inmates are also allowed to participate in the group, according to the report. The idea of alternative sexuality cultures in prison is nothing new. Danbury prison in Connecticut is rumoured to have a renowned and somewhat taboo “secret lesbian culture.”
While a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has refused to comment on the couple themselves, she has stipulated that their marriage is a right that all UK prisoners have.
“Prisoners are entitled to apply to be married in prison under the Marriages Act 1983. This would take place at no cost to the taxpayer and there is no possibility they would share a cell.”
Gallatinov and Goodwin will be separated to prevent any notion of privilege above other inmates. Howard League’s chief executive, Frances Crook, defends the prisoner’s rights to get married while behind bars.
“As a general principle, I think that prisoners should be allowed the same civil rights as people outside. They are in prison for public safety reasons, not to stop them asserting their civil rights.”
She also added that she would like to see family rooms built by prisons where prisoners can meet their families in privacy, stating that other countries have already implemented such a scheme.
“That’s what they do in Norway, and in long-term prisons in France there are little cottages where families can spend two or three days together.”
Since the introduction of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 and the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act, more gay, lesbian, and bisexual couples are seeking to get married in the UK and other parts of the world, and this includes prisoners.