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May 21, 2015

Bucks County court rules 'father' can marry 'son'

Same-sex marriage shows path to legal rights in Pennsylvania

Marriage Gay Rights
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Bill Novak and Norman MacArthur will go from being 'father' and adoptive 'son' to a married couple.

A same-sex couple in Bucks County can now legally get married after 50 years together and what may seem an unusual path to gaining recognition of their rights.

Bill Novak and Norman MacArthur, both in their 70s, were registered as domestic partners in New York City in 1994 before moving to Bucks County, where the legal relationships of domestic partnership and same-sex marriage were prohibited.

In order to establish a legal relationship with attendant rights, the couple was advised by a lawyer to go the route of adoption, a practice that gained traction around the turn of the century for same-sex couples to pursue the benefits of union and plan estates, Patch reports.

With both sets of parents deceased, Novak adopted MacArthur in 2000, becoming his legal father in Pennsylvania.

Fast forward 15 years and same-sex marriage is legally permitted in Pennsylvania after the United States District Court overturned Pennsylvania's Marriage Laws prohibiting same-sex marriage.

Novak and MacArthur's Petition to Vacate Adoption decree was granted on May 14, paving the way for the former 'father' and 'son' to get married. The following day, the couple applied for and received a marriage license.

While they haven't yet set an official date, Novak and MacArthur are finally in a position to accomplish what they hoped for years would some day be possible. Their case also establishes a precedent for same-sex couples who may be in similar situations.

Read more at Patch.