A former New South Wales prison governor has expressed concern that with marriage equality will come a flood of inmates requesting permission to marry each other.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, John Heffernan said despite his concerns he is not homophobic, Out in Perth has reported.

“Most Australians voted to support marriage equality,” he wrote.

“And it hasn’t taken long for the inevitable question to be raised, namely, do those same rights and privileges extend to that section of the community who are imprisoned?”

Heffernan, former governor of the Grafton Correctional Centre in northern New South Wales, said requests for marriages between inmates will create new challenges for corrections staff.

“A prescribed policy would be compelled to recognise that sex between a married inmate couple is bound to occur and therefore direct prison staff on how to best manage that situation, both from a moral and dutiful standpoint,” he wrote.

“That said, a significant number of officers would have a great deal of difficulty in accepting such a situation be it on religious grounds or their own individual moral views.”

A spokesperson for Corrective Services New South Wales suggested Heffernan’s concerns could be misplaced.

“CSNSW does not allow marriage between inmates, same-sex or otherwise,” said the spokesperson.

“Inmates can apply to marry non-inmates, but prison chaplains discourage it and the Commissioner in any case has indicated he would not approve it.”

Other countries have had to determine policies for marriage between prison inmates after legalising same-sex marriage.

Two men both serving life sentences became the first to marry in a UK prison in 2015.

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