ACLU: Inmates have ‘right’ to wed one another

Feb 26th, 2014 | By | Category: Conditions & Constitution, Frivolous Inmate Lawsuits, Paco's Podium, Prisons & Confinement, Spotlight

Lifers in Love

Niccole Wetherell And Paul Gillpatrick are Lifers in Love. Cupid's arrow nipped them post-incarceration but the DOC prohibits arrows and inmate-inmate weddings.

Niccole Wetherell And Paul Gillpatrick are Lifers in Love. Cupid’s arrow nipped them post-incarceration but the DOC prohibits both arrows and inmate-inmate weddings.

ACLU lawsuit claims Nebraska prison officials preventing inmates’ marriage

By Paul Hammel / Omaha World-Herald

LINCOLN — The ACLU of Nebraska claims that the state is preventing two jailbirds from becoming married lovebirds.

On Tuesday, the civil rights organization filed a lawsuit against state prison officials contending that they have failed to accommodate the constitutional right to marry of two Nebraska prison inmates, Paul Gillpatrick and Niccole Wetherell.

The inmates — who are both serving time for homicide — have offered to pay the costs of transporting them to the same prison for a wedding ceremony, or to finance alternative arrangements, such as using an Internet video link to get married, according to the ACLU.

But the state turned them down, citing “legal and security” reasons…

Wetherell is serving a life sentence; Gillpatrick won’t be eligible for parole for 25 years…

The ACLU argues that state officials cannot deny the couple their right to marry simply because they are incarcerated and held in separate institutions…(Full text at Omaha World-Herald)
Surely, should the lovesick killers prevail, establishing the right to marry is unimpeded by lawful incarceration, the floodgate would open in terms of so-called gay marriages.

Which is to say, if Paul and Niccole have a right to wed in prison, why shouldn’t Paul and Nicholas? And, once married, don’t they have a right to cell up?

Paco sides with the DOC on this one–Inmates must not be permitted to wed other inmates. It is a can of worms. –

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3 Comments to “ACLU: Inmates have ‘right’ to wed one another”

  1. Donkey Punch says:

    It will be wonderful to see them fighting over “spousal support” from their trust accounts…LOL

  2. Bob Walsh says:

    Courts have often held that the “right” to marry is a basic human right and interfering with that is legally questionable. I agree it would be a bureaucratic nightmare, but it would not surprise me if true love wins out in this case.

  3. Howie Katz says:

    Now, now Paco, aren’t you being just a tad Neanderthalish? Even conservative Arizona Gov. Brewer is expected to veto a law allowing businesses to refuse service to gay and lesbian couples on grounds of religious beliefs.

    Gay marriages in prison? What could be more romantic? I can see the chaplain performing the wedding ceremony in the prison chapel filled with the couples’ families and inmate friends. I can hear the prison choir singing the appropriate songs. And after the ceremony, I can see a reception where, in addition to the wedding cake, pruno would be served.

    Come on Paco, get with the Rainbow program! We’re in the 21st Century, or didn’t you know?