Jason Cadek, 37, and Nick Kramer, 42, both grew up in rural America. Jason is from North Loup, Nebraska, population 300. Nick grew up in Montana. When they met, Nick was a consultant living in NYC who frequently came to Omaha for work. They met in a way people often do in romantic comedy films: Jason was a server at a restaurant Nick frequented while in Omaha for work. After ten years as partners, they were married in October of 2013.
Nick joined Jason in Nebraska because they wanted to make a life together and raise a family. In September of 2011, Jason and Nick were in the delivery room when their daughter Alice was delivered and their family was born. They have been Alice’s parents, by her side, from the moment she took her first breath. Alice just celebrated her third birthday. However, because Nebraska doesn’t recognize their marriage, they could not jointly adopt Alice, leaving her with no legal ties to Jason, her “Daddy”, and without the comfort and security that she would have if Nebraska recognized her parents’ relationship.
Although the State does not recognize the family relationship between Jason and Alice, their extended family and community does. Shortly after Alice was born, Jason’s family wanted to host a baby shower for Alice in North Loup. So many people RSVP’ed that they had to move the event to a venue in a neighboring town to accommodate nearly a hundred people who wanted to attended.
Nick is currently a consultant and Jason is a compliance auditor for a bank in Omaha. They own their home and Alice enjoys playing with their 2 cats and 2 dogs. In addition to a supportive family, Jason is fortunate that his job allows him to extend his health insurance benefits to Nick and Alice. However since Nebraska doesn’t recognize Nick and Alice as his family members, they have to pay taxes on the health insurance benefits. This means $5,650 of health insurance is considered taxable income every year.
Such family and workplace support, however, doesn’t change the fact that if Nick were unavailable, it might be difficult for Jason to make medical or legal decisions for Alice. Additionally, were Jason to pass away, Alice would receive no survivor benefits. The couple lies awake some nights fearing that Alice would not be able to stay with Jason if something were to happen to Nick.
“It’s amazing how having a child changes everything. We want Nebraska to recognize our marriage for Alice and our family. She deserves the same happiness, opportunity, and security that so many other children have.” – Nick