Ex-convicts Daniel Mangini and Steven Roberts are free to love again. The recently released jailbirds have been together for more than twenty happy years, but things took an ugly turn when they started doing meth.
Desperate to feed their collective habit, Mangini and Roberts started selling the illegal drug. And, as happens, landed in jail.
Upon their release, the men asked to be reunited, but Philalelphia’s probation office refused. It’s not uncommon for ex-cons to be denied friendly visits with one another, says the ACLU, but officials often make exceptions for lovers and other close family members.
Mangini and Roberts’ relationship, they were told, didn’t qualify:
While it is customary for the U. S. Probation Office to bar people on supervision from associating with other felons while on supervised release, it ordinarily makes exceptions for close family members. After their release, Mangini and Roberts explained to their probation officer that they were in a long-term committed relationship, but they were informed that same-sex relationships were not treated as family and that they would have to stay away from each other.
The heartbroken men turned to the ACLU and fought the ruling in court. After some legal wrangling, a judge finally cited Lawrence v. Texas and affirmed the reformed addicts right to be together. Mangini celebrated the news yesterday, “I’m elated. This opens possibilities. Finally we get to resume our lives together and dream for the future.”