When Bill Novak and Norman MacArthur, partners who have been together for more than 50 years, moved to Buck County, Pennsylvania, they didn't realize the domestic partnership they'd entered into in New York in 1994 in order to protect their estate wouldn't be honored, so they resorted what many gay couples have -- adoption.
In 2000, Novak adopted MacArthur because, as he told Patch's Kara Seymour, "it was the only method we could use in Pennsylvania to give [legal] underpinning to our relationship."
MacArthur said that they had consulted a lawyer and was "told 'hell would freeze over before Pennsylvania approves same-sex marriage.'" As all of their parents were deceased, there was no one to challenge the adoption, so they filed the paperwork and continued their lives together.
Still, they told Seymour, they always dreamed of being married. When a U.S. District Court declared Pennsylvania's prohibition on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, they were confronted with a problem -- in the eyes of the law, MacArthur was Novak's son, so they couldn't legally get married.
On May 14, 2015, however, a court accepted the couple's Petition to Vacate Adoption Decree, allowing the pair to wed.
Their marriage license was granted 15 minutes later.
According to Seymour, this is the first time in the state's history that a court has agreed to vacate a legal adoption in order to facilitate a same-sex marriage.
"We are ecstatic beyond belief," Novak said. "I feel an enormous sense of not only relief but freedom that we can finally do something in Pennsylvania that I've been dreaming of for years."
Scott Eric Kaufman
Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at email@example.com. MORE FROM Scott Eric Kaufman • FOLLOW scottekaufman • LIKE Scott Eric Kaufman
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