Parolees Win Same-Sex Rights
Posted Aug 21, 2007 4:37 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
Two recently paroled methamphetamine dealers can continue in their relationship of more than 20 years, in spite of a rule that normally bars convicted felons from associating with one another while they are on parole.
Initially, Daniel Mangini, 42, and Steven Roberts, 43, were told that they had to follow that rule, too, since they are neither married nor blood relations. The men, who live in Montgomery County, say they are clean and sober and eager to get on with their lives. However, they would have been limited to one 12-hour visit and two phone calls weekly for at least the first six months of their five-year parole, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.
That changed July 31, when U.S. District Judge Marvin Katz held the two have the same constitutional right to associate with each other as a heterosexual married couple. The American Civil Liberties Union represented them.
"It's fair to say we're not role models, but that doesn't mean we should have less rights than anybody else," says Mangini. "We weren't going to take it without a fight."