New York recognizes same-sex conjugal visits

Posted on 26 Apr 2011 at 10:48am

This comes under the category of one of those rights you probably didn’t know you didn’t have: New York has changed regulations to allow same-sex conjugal visits.

The article caught my eye because of a picture of the historical marker at Sing Sing, the prison where my father used to work. Yes, I said work there — as a teacher — not live there as a prisoner.

Although New York has not yet passed same-sex marriage, by executive order the state recognizes marriages performed in other states. Recent polls show that 56 percent of New Yorkers support legalizing same-sex marriage.

New York allows conjugal visits for its prisoners. Now they have extended those rights for same-sex civil union or married partners.

Furloughs for prisoners to care for a terminally ill partner may now also be granted to those in a civil union or same-sex marriage, a right opposite-sex partners have had.

The historical marker reminded me of a New York phrase I haven’t used since moving to Dallas.

In Texas we say someone is going to prison. In the Bronx, they someone is going “up the river.” That’s because Sing Sing is up the Hudson River from New York City. In Albany, which is further up the river and has its own colloquialisms, they say someone is going down the river.

But whichever way you’re going on the river, if you’re in a civil union or marriage that is recognized by New York, you can now have conjugal visits.

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