A gay Pennsylvania couple will finally be allowed to marry – after years of waiting and an unusual legal maneuver to protect their legal partnership.
Bill Novak and Norman MacArthur have been together more than 50 years and registered in 1994 as domestic partners in New York City, but Pennsylvania did not recognize their legal partnership when they moved there, reported Patch.
“The time came about to do estate planning,” MacArthur said. “We were told at that time, ‘Hell would freeze over before Pennsylvania approves same sex marriage.’”
An attorney told them the only way they could become legally related – and protect their partnership rights – was through adoption.
“It was the only legal method we could use in Pennsylvania to give underpinning to our relationship,” MacArthur told the website.
Novak adopted MacArthur in 2000 – a not uncommon practice for LGBT couples at the time, before any states had legally sanctioned same-sex marriage – but still hoped to marry someday.
The couple, now in their 70s, filed a petition to vacate the adoption after a federal court struck down Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage.
A court granted their request May 14 -- clearing the way for the men 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.”
Their marriage license was approved 15 minutes after their adoption was vacated, and the couple plans to marry soon at their local courthouse.
Their attorney, Terry Clemons, said the case could set an important precedent for other couples who took the same measures to protect their legal rights before same-sex marriage was available.
However, conservatives are already sounding the alarm.
“The Pandora’s box of same-sex marriage has just released a new pairing unimaginable a few short years ago,” reported World Net Daily in an article headlined, “Queerly beloved: ‘Father’ to marry ‘son,’ with court’s blessing!”
“Norman MacArthur and Bill Novak, father and son, though not biologically, will soon be husband and … whatever,” the conservative website added.