WASHINGTON (CBSDC)– If you asked Nino Esposito and his partner five years ago when they thought same-sex marriage would be legal, they’d say the day would never come.
Prior to the Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide, many gay couples used adoption laws as a way to gain legal family ties in order to get benefits, as reported by CNN.
This was the case for Esposito, a retired teacher, and his now adopted partner Roland “Drew” Bosee, a former freelance and technical writer. The couple went through with the adoption in 2012 after 40 years of being together.
The couple is now trying to reverse the adoption in order to get married, but a state court judge has rejected that request saying adoption annulments are generally limited to cases of fraud.
“We never thought we’d see the day,” 78-year-old Esposito told CNN regarding the legalization of same-sex marriage.
“[The adoption] gave us the most legitimate thing available to us,” 68-year-old Bosee added.
ACLU says that many couples across the states took advantage of adoption laws as a way to legally become family, but now that same-sex marriage is legal, these same couples seeking marriage licenses are running into trouble.
“We realized we could have a complete union, which is what we want,” Esposito said of their plans for adoption annulment.
Judge Lawrence J. O’Toole, of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, denied the couple’s request saying that he was “sensitive to the situation” but that they cannot marry “because they are legally father and son.”
“This Court welcomes direction from our appellate courts in handling parallel cases,” O’Toole wrote.
ACLU Pennsylvania says it doesn’t believe the judge was unsympathetic, and that he most likely just believes the legal path should be “forged by an appellate court.”
“The ACLU is hopeful that the Superior Court will apply established legal principles to allow annulment of adoptions by same-sex couples who that they can finally partake of their constitutional right to marry,” Witold Walczak, the Legal Director of the ACLU Pennsylvania, told CNN.
Democratic Sen. Bob Casey urged the Justice Department to weigh in on the case in favor of the couple.
“LGBT couples should have the right to obtain a marriage license, no matter the state or jurisdiction in which they reside,” Casey wrote. “In adoption cases such as these, the law has changed dramatically since the adoptions were first carried out.”
A spokeswoman for the Justice Department says the department is reviewing Casey’s letter.
Esposito and Bosee had high hopes when they first filed the annulment, anticipating being able to get married that same day. Following the denial, they are now being more cautious about planning the wedding.
“We had our $80 in cash and we were ready to go across the street to get our license. Judge O’Toole had other ideas,” Esposito said.