When 40-year-old Mikhail Gallatinov and 31-year-old Marc Goodman first met while working together at their local bar in the U.K., it was love at first sight. Conveniently, they were also neighbors, which meant they got to see each other all the time. Last week, the two “soul partners” exchanged wedding vows in front of their friends and family members… and 10 prison guards from the Full Sutton Prison in Yorkshire, where both men are currently incarcerated. Their union is the first same-sex wedding to occur in a prison after gay marriage was made legal in the U.K. in March 2014.
Gallatinov, a convicted child molester who prison psychologists have labeled “psychopathic,” is currently serving a 20-year sentence after strangling a 28-year-old man he met on a gay sex hotline in 1997. Goodman is currently serving an 18-year sentence after going on a “gay-bashing spree” and bludgeoning a 57-year-old gay man to death in 2007.
The two men met while working as “bar staff” inside the prison.
Gallatinov’s folks told the Manchester Evening News that they are “proud” of their son for “being a small part of history.”
“If you find love you have to go for it,” his father, Allen Abdulla, said, “even if it is in prison.”
His mother, Christina WIlliams agreed, saying her son was absolutely heartbroken when his last in-prison boyfriend was transferred to a different correctional facility and that she is “glad he’s found love again.”
“Everyone deserves to be happy,” Abdulla added.
But not everyone is pleased about the union.
Tony Benfold, the brother of the man Goodwin murdered, suspects the marriage is just a ploy to gain early release and should not have been permitted, despite the U.K.’s Marriages Act of 1983, which allows prisoners to apply for marriage licenses, and the legalization of same-sex marriage in the U.K. in March of last year.
“How can you go out and kill a man for being gay and then have a gay wedding in prison?” he told the Mirror. “I can’t see any logic in it. It has crossed my mind that this could be a trick to get early release by showing they have built new lives.”
Others think it is a positive thing.
“Marriage is a human right for same-sex couples and even for people whose lives we may find reprehensible,” Peter Tatchell, an ambassador for a U.K. penal reform association, told BuzzFeed News, adding that while Gallatinov and Goodwin “committed horrific murders,” the “aim of prison is to also reform and rehabilitate offenders. … Being in love and married might help stabilize these men; giving them a focus away from a life of crime.”
Congratulations to the happy couple?