Finally, a gay couple in Pennsylvania that used adoption as a loophole in their relationship got married. On Sunday, Bill Novak and Norman MacArthur became the first father and adopted son couple to wed in the state’s history since the same-sex marriage ban was dropped, this according to a Yahoo Parenting news report.
This story is an update to previous reporting by Inquisitr on the couple. After 52 years of being romantically involved, Bill and Norman’s relationship is finally official in the eyes of the law — and like the way they envisioned it nearly 15 years ago.
Gay couple had to use adoption law to receive legal rights, now can legally marry: https://t.co/8GQZAk2MRD
— Jyl Shaffer (@jylshaffer) May 28, 2015
The retired couple moved from New York, where domestic partnership are recognized, to Pennsylvania. They soon learned the state doesn’t allow gay marriage. Then, they had to use the adoption process to add legitimacy in the relationship, based on their estate plans, as MacArthur explains.
“When we moved to Pennsylvania, we had both retired and we were of the age where one begins to do estate planning. 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.”
— Eddie Du (@Edourdoo) May 24, 2015
The suggestion didn’t sit well with the gay couple in the beginning. But after doing a bit of research on their own, which included the local community, the Erwinna couple agreed to the adoption workaround. As father and son– Novak adopted MacArthur — Norman and Bill would gain certain legal rights that are entitled to family members. As seniors, their biggest focus was preventing a red-tape battle with the healthcare system should one of them become ill.
“With new HIPAA privacy laws, hospitals are very constrained in what they can say to other people. 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.”
The adoption process with the gay pair was fairly seamless — took some time to getting used to. Nevertheless, with the support of family and friends, that hurdle soon evaporated.
Last year when a federal court ruled that gays and lesbians can be married under the law, Bill Novak and Norman MacArthur scored another victory. A judge soon vacated the adoption, and the couple applied for a marriage license. It took only 15 minutes for approval.
According to Terry Clemons, an attorney the couple knew during their journey to be married, said it’s the first time the state has vacated an adoption to allow legal underpinning of a relationship.
Ten days after obtaining their marriage documents, Norman MacArthur and Bill Novak became official. The once father and son [through adoption] are now married, and hope that other gay men and women will take the leap and petition the courts like that did.
[Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images]