A same-sex couple legally registered as ‘father’ and ‘son’ are to be married, after a judge vacated their adoption decree.
Bill Novak and Norman MacArthur were originally registered as domestic partners in 1994, when they lived in New York City. However, when they relocated to Pennsylvania, they found out their status was not recognised by the state.
Therefore, the only way for the couple to obtain legal rights for hospital visitation and inheritance was for Novak to adopt MacArthur as his son.
MacArthur said: ‘We were told when we started to look into this that hell would freeze over before Pennsylvania allowed same-sex marriage. So doing the adoption was literally the only thing we could do to give legal underpinning to our relationship.’
Because the United States District Court declared Pennsylvania’s laws on same-sex marriage unconstitutional last year, Novak and MacArthur can finally get married. However, they faced a further challenge as the state legally saw the couple as father and son.
The adoption decree was eventually vacated by Judge Gary Gilman of Bucks County Orphans’ Court, to the joy of the couple.
MacArthur said: ‘The courtroom burst into applause. I burst into tears.
‘After months of investigating ways that we could do this and finally having the decision coming down in our favor, I’m still walking three feed above the ground.’
Terry Clemons, the couple’s attorney, said: ‘It removes the hurdle for other people who may be in the same position as Bill and Norm.’