Judiciary Committee Testimony on LB380
Rev. Dr. E. Scott Jones & Michael Cich-Jones
Scott: In 1952 my grandparents, Christine and Herbert Jones, who had been unable to have children of their own, received the call from the state orphanage in Oklahoma that a four-year-old boy was ready for them to pick up. Leonard Green, nicknamed "Tubby," along with his sisters and brothers, had been taken from an abusive home. Fortunately, Leonard was young enough that he had not been a victim of the abuse that his elder siblings experienced. The Joneses drove hours to meet him and immediately bonded. They took him home, stopping in Tulsa to buy clothes and toys.
The day my father became Randall Dewayne Jones transformed his own life and made mine possible. And it explains why I have always wanted to adopt.
Michael: In 2010 my husband and I moved to Omaha from Oklahoma City when he was called to become the Senior Minister of the First Central Congregational Church. One of the goals of our job search was to be in a stable, financial position so that we could begin a family, and we were looking forward to doing that after we settled in.
We had only been in Nebraska a few months when we attended a workshop for gay couples on family issues, including adoption. There we learned that Nebraska bars openly gay persons from adopting. Oklahoma, where we came from, is known nationally for its anti-gay policies, yet there we could have adopted, because those viewed as unmarried by the state can adopt regardless of their sexual orientation. As you can imagine, this was dispiriting news. Even now my husband contemplates whether he will have to leave the church that God has called him to, I will have to leave the job I enjoy, we will have to leave the home we have remodeled, and the friends we have made and move to another state in order to pursue our desire to have a family.
Scott: Last Advent my congregation's worship theme was "What's Your Wish?" and on the Second Sunday of Advent we invited everyone to share their heart's desire as a sign of how God was working with them, drawing them to become their best selves. I shared that my wish, my heart's desire, the thing that I have always most looked forward to in life, was to be a grandfather, sitting at the Thanksgiving table, enjoying the fellowship of my children and grandchildren.
In Nebraska what stands in our way is a law that serves no legitimate governmental interest, a law that makes an arbitrary and cruel distinction. Today we implore you to right this wrong.
***Corrections: Mom corrected me that it was "Lester" not "Leonard" and that the date dad was taken home was March 14, 1953, which was 60 years to the date we testified.