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Father and son marry after disolving his adoption

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A ‘father’ and ‘son’ are now legally married to each other after dissolving their adoption. Bill Novak, 76, and Norman McArthur, 74, who met 52 years ago, were desperate to be legally together as a gay couple.

In 2000, Mr Novak adopted Mr McArthur as that was the only way under Pennsylvanian law the pair could have any rights as a couple. Fifteen years later the ban on same sex marriage was lifted, leaving the two men free to marry.

The pair met in their 20s and lived in New York together, where they were registered as domestic partners. In 2000 they moved to Erwinna in Pennsylvania, where domestic partnerships are not legally recognised.

The pair were retired and wanting to plan what would happen in case one of them became ill or died.

But they were told by a lawyer the state was never going to allow same-sex marriage, so the only legal avenue they had in order to be afforded any rights was adoption.

He said without the adoption they were legally strangers, meaning one would not necessarily know if the other had been hospitalised or allowed in to visit them in intensive care.

Mr MacArthur said: “I was the son and Bill was the father. Bill is two years older than I am, so that was the only reason.”

When Pennsylvania’s marriage laws, which prohibited same-sex marriage, were declared unconstitutional last year, the two men wanted to marry.

The couple’s original lawyer told them no court would dissolve an adoption unless another person adopted Mr MacArthur.

But a friend advised them the courts may allow a petition to vacate an adoption if it was made clear the only reason for it was to give a legal underpinning to the relationship.

The couple went to court on May 14 hoping the judge would sign the petition to vacate their adoption so they could get legally married.

They packed the courtroom with 30 friends to show the case was out of the ordinary, and the public gallery burst into applause when the judge decided to dissolve the adoption.

Ten days later, the couple were legally married at a small private ceremony conducted by an old friend of the couple’s who is an Episcopalian priest.

Source: Mirror.co.uk

“I feel incredibly happy. It’s the only way I can describe it – just enormously happy,” Mr MacArthur said. “It was very much worth the wait.”

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