Gay Couples at MSOP Hope to Marry, Face Road Blocks

By KBJR News 1

Gay Couples at MSOP Hope to Marry, Face Road Blocks

September 9, 2013 Updated Sep 9, 2013 at 8:10 PM CDT

Moose Lake, MN (NNCNOW.com) - The Moose Lake Sex Offender Treatment Program is a place where those deemed the most dangerous of Minnesota's sex offenders are sent after they finish their prison sentences.

Though it's a secure lock-up facility the men are not considered prisoners, but clients.
While they don't have their freedom they do have the same rights as ex-prisoners.

We were allowed to talk with Nicholas Luhmann and Thomas Bolter over the phone.

"We have officially been a couple for about 18 months now," Thomas Bolter told Barbara Reyelts on the phone.

"Are you and Nick in love?" Barbara asked.

"Yes, very much so," Bolter Replied.

They say they would like to get married, but say they're having problems with the Minnesota Department of Human Services, which runs the Sex Offender Program.

"Being a client is like being committed to a state hospital even though they call it a treatment center. And we feel like this is a direct violation of our civil rights. We have the right to be transported to Carlton County and to get the license," Nicholas Luhmann said.

Bolter say it's critical that they get married soon as he is having trouble with his kidneys and because he's estranged from his family wants someone to advocate on his behalf if he becomes critically ill.

"They are failing, and we want to make sure that Nick has the ultimate say with my health issues," he said.

Bolter and Luhmann asked the Carlton County recorder if they could get their marriage license over the phone but were told they would have to come in in person.

"MSOP's transport policies does not allow transport to Carlton County for the purposes of facilitating marriage licenses," Luhmann said.

Luhmann and Bolter are one of three same-sex couples that has asked to be allowed to marry.

The issue is being discussed at the State Human Services Department.

Nick Luhmann and Tom Bolter say they are considering hiring a lawyer to help them force the state to facilitate their marriage.

Barbara Reyelts