Attorney General Jon Bruning rejects the suggestion by the ACLU that two Nebraska prison inmates should be allowed to marry.
The ACLU has filed suit on behalf of Paul Gillpatrick and Niccole Wetherel, claiming Nebraska has violated their rights by not allowing them to marry.
Bruning points out the two are incarcerated in separate prisons. He says the state won’t transport them for a wedding ceremony.
“Our responsibility at the state and at the Department of Corrections is public safety and when somebody violates the public safety enough to get incarcerated, they certainly lose some opportunities, including to be able to have us transport them around to get married,” Bruning tells reporters during a news conference on a separate issue.
Gillpatrick, 42, is imprisoned in Lincoln on a murder conviction, and Niccole Wetherall, 33, is imprisoned in York on a murder charge. They say a mutual friend introduced them in the 1990s and have been engaged for the past two years.
The ACLU claims not allowing the inmates to marry violates a 1987 US Supreme Court ruling that allows prisoners to marry.
Bruning dismisses the argument and suggests the two will have time, later, to get married.
“They’ll have an opportunity. Both these people have end dates. They’ll figure it out,” Bruning says.
Bruning says his office will fight the ACLU lawsuit.
“I mean, we have defended lawsuits on everything from A to Z. So, we’ll defend this, too,” according to Bruning. “Unfortunately, we have an entire group in the Attorney General’s office that does nothing but defend lawsuits from inmates. And my response to those inmates is don’t get sent to prison and you won’t have to worry about this. Then, you can do whatever you want to do. But, you’re in prison, and so life will not continue as it did for you on the outside.”