For two men in Pennsylvania, this week has been the most significant one. The gay couple, Norman MacArthur, 74, and Bill Novak, 76, was finally allowed to marry, reports The Independent
But, there is a twist to their story. Norman and Bill lived as father and son for 15 years. They took this step because adoption was a legal technicality that would allow them to obtain rights they couldn’t have as partners.
Rights that Pennsylvania didn’t extend to gay couples included hospital visiting rights and the ability to inherit each other’s assets.
Norman and Bill, who have been together for over 50 years, moved to Pennsylvania in 2000. A lawyer told them since domestic partnerships weren’t recognized, if they wanted to retain familial legal rights, then Bill could adopt Norman – two years his junior.
When a judge ruled Pennsylvania’s law against gay marriage unconstitutional last year, Norman and Bill decided they wanted to get married. Earlier this month, they went to court get the adoption vacated so they could finally become a real couple. Norman said:
“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.”