Father and Son Can’t Get Married in Pennsylvania
Before same-sex marriage was legalized by the Supreme Court recently in all 50 states, some gay couples decided that the only way to get legal protection for their unions was to use their state’s adoption laws.
Adoption allowed same-sex couples to gain legal recognition as a family, bringing with it the related benefits such as inheritance and hospital visitation rights. But according to The Atlantic, these heterosexist policies of our past have historically pushed gay couples into what is essentially legalized incest.
Men and woman in the past can’t sit around and wait for marriage equality to show up, so they’ve legally changed their relationship from partners to father and son, mother and daughter.
That brings us to Nino Esposito, a retired teacher, and his partner, Roland Bosee, a former freelance and technical writer. The two have been together more than 40 years. Back in 2012, Nino went through the lengthy and stressful process of adopted his partner, Roland, and in the eyes of the law he became is legal father.
For the past three years the father and son have been living in Pennsylvania and along with the rest of the country, watching as state by state overturned laws barring same-sex marriage.
Now, the father and son are enthralled that Pennsylvania has legalized same sex marriage.
They rushed to have their adoption annulled so they could finally get married!
“We never thought we’d see the day” that same-sex marriage would be legal in Pennsylvania, Esposito, 78, told CNN in a telephone interview.
“Being adopted by Nino gave us the most legitimate thing available to us” at the time, said Nino’s son, Bosee, 68.
Justice is indeed, blind
But Judge Lawrence J. O’Toole, of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, acknowledged he was sensitive to the situation, but ruled against the father and son. It’s not clear how the judge made his conclusion, but he ascertained that the primary purpose of their adoption was not based on love, or legal status, or medical rights such as visitation. The judge decided that Nino and Roland adopted because they wanted to reduce the Pennsylvania inheritance tax payable upon the death of one of the men from 15% to 4%.
According to the judge, “As the two men are now be in a parent-child relationship instead of a third party relationship.”
The judge said he was “sensitive to the situation” but noted that despite the fact Esposito and Bosee desire to marry, “they cannot do so because they are legally father and son.”
Esposito and Bosee said they’re being cautious now about planning a wedding. When they filed their adoption annulment they anticipated being able to marry the same day. Judge O’Toole had other ideas.