Gay couple get married behind bars after meeting during a bingo game in prison
A gay couple in Cyprus have gotten married while behind bars after they met during a bingo game in prison.
Kevork Tontian and Wemson Gabral da Costa have become the second same-sex couple to get married in a European Union prison.
Tontian, who is Cypriot, had such strong feelings for his Brazilian partner that he deliberately broke the law again after his release so they could be reunited.
Gay man Kevork Tontian twice got himself back in prison so he could be reunited with his partner.
The following year, Tontian was released again – and had himself sent back to prison again so the pair could be together. He was also motivated by his family’s rejection of his sexual orientation and poor job prospects, NBC News reports.
We dare, we dare, we asked. There is no shame. Love has no shame.
The couple are both still prison in Nicosia, Cyprus, where they wed last week surrounded by prison guards and a number of inmate friends. Under the country’s laws, they entered into a civil partnership, which gives the same rights as marriage except it doesn’t allow access to adoption.
The couple successfully petitioned prison authorities to let them share a cell.
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Tontian told Associated Press: “We dare, we dare, we asked. There is no shame. Love has no shame.”
The Cypriot is a former heroin addict who was given a prison sentence for a drug related offence in 2015.
Meanwhile, Da Costa – who was also rejected by his family – is a former sex worker who smuggled drugs to Cyprus in order to pay for his grandmother’s medical expenses.
The couple successfully petitioned prison authorities to allow them to share a cell. They are both due to be released in June of this year. They are planning to stay in Cyprus but also hope to visit Brazil and hope that da Costa’s family will embrace them.
Tontian urged other LGBT+ people in prison to formalise their relationships and tie the knot. He also criticised families who reject people for their sexual and gender identities, claiming: “At some point the family will regret it.”
In a statement, LGBTI Cyprus praised prison authorities for facilitating the union.
“Though their request was immediately accepted by the prison authorities, numerous obstacles were posed by the government, which led to a 1.5 [year] delay for their dream to come true.
“We thank the Central Prison authorities, personnel and everyone who has helped the couple unite officially.”