Norman MacArthur, 74, and Bill Novak, 76, were married in Pennsylvania on Sunday. The couple, who has been together since their 20s, registered as domestic partners in New York City in 1994, but in 2000 they moved to Erwinna, Penn., where domestic partnerships are not legally recognized.
“When we moved to Pennsylvania, we had both retired and we were of the age where one begins to do estate planning,” MacArthur tells Yahoo Parenting.
“We went to a lawyer who told us Pennsylvania was never going to allow same-sex marriage, so the only legal avenue we had in order to be afforded any rights was adoption.”
“It struck me as fairly unusual, but we looked into it and discovered that other couples had done it. [Without the adoption] we would be legally strangers,” Mr MacArthur said. “An adoption would grant the couple certain legal rights they felt compelled to secure. “Most importantly, it would allow us visitation rights in a hospital, and gaining of knowledge if one of us was in the hospital.”
“If we were legally related, I would be allowed into the ER and entitled to know what Bill’s condition was if anything should happen,” he said.
However, last year a judge ruled that Pennsylvania’s law against gay marriage was unconstitutional and the couple decided to marry.
So earlier this month they went to court to get the adoption rescinded.
“We had 30 friends in court to show that this case was out of the ordinary — though the judge knew that — and when the judge signed the order our friends burst into applause and I burst into tears,” Mr MacArthur.