The ACLU of Nebraska filed a lawsuit in Lancaster County on behalf of a couple, both inmates at separate facilities, who claim the state refuses to allow them to marry.
Paul Gillpatrick, 42, is serving 55 to 90 years in prison for second-degree murder. He is eligible for parole in 2039. Niccole Wetherell, 33, is serving life in another state prison for first-degree murder.
According to the ACLU, the couple met through a mutual friend and have been engaged for over two years. Both have filled out the appropriate forms; however, the ACLU says the Department of Correctional Services is unwilling to place the couple in the same room or to use modern technology to make other arrangements to allow the ceremony to go forward.
“The State has flexibility in its options. We are not demanding that it change its security requirements. All we are asking is that the State accommodate this couple’s legal desire to marry,” said cooperating attorney Michael Gooch of Omaha.