The Pandora’s box of same-sex marriage has just released a new pairing unimaginable a few short years ago.
Norman MacArthur and Bill Novak, father and son, though not biologically, will soon be husband and … whatever, reports the Patch of Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
The pair, both in their 70s, have been together for 50 years and registered in New York City as domestic partners in 1994. But when they moved to Pennsylvania, they discovered their domestic partnership wasn’t recognized, and legalized same-sex marriage was nowhere on the horizon.
Needing to take care of estate-planning issues, the pair pursued a novel legal approach. Novak adopted MacArthur in 2000. The fact their parents were deceased removed any legal objection.
“It was the only legal method we could use in Pennsylvania to give underpinning to our relationship,” MacArthur said.
When the United States District Court declared unconstitutional Pennsylvania’s marriage laws prohibiting same-sex marriage unconstitutional in 2014, Novak and MacArthur wanted to tie the knot in marriage, but their earlier legal gambit now became an obstacle. Pennsylvania law doesn’t permit marriage between parents and children.
So, a week ago, the father and son’s Petition to Vacate Adoption Decree was approved, and the pair simply became two single men now allowed to marry.
“We are ecstatic beyond belief,” MacArthur 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.”
According to their lawyer, Terry Clemons, the adoption strategy was commonly used 15 to 20 years ago to facilitate estate planning and access to medical care.
The pair has been given a marriage license and is planning a summer wedding.