Gay Couple Need Adoption Annulled In Order to Marry

In the not-so-distant past it was not unusual to hear about gay couples who arranged for one to adopt the other to gain rights of inheritance and other family benefits. I recall a case I handled 20 years ago where a wealthy, elderly gentleman adopted his younger partner, much to the distress of the adopting partner’s other biological children.

A gay couple in Pennsylvania did the same thing, convinced that during their lifetime the law would never recognize or legalize their relationship. But to their delight the United States Supreme Court did, a happy event that was marred by the realization that as father and son they faced a hurdle to become lawfully wedded spouses.

Nick Esposito, age 78, adopted his partner, Drew Bosee, age 68, in 2012, two years before same-sex marriage was legalized in the United States. The couple had been together for over 40 years. They determined that they would not allow the adoption to stop them from their goal of marriage and filed a Petition in Allegheny County seeking to annul the adoption. They learned that judges in other states had granted such orders in situations like theirs.

But Allegheny County Judge Lawrence O’Toole ruled that state law barred him from doing the same. He ruled that while same-sex partners could marry, parents could not marry their children. Of course, that makes sense, except that Mr. Esposito and Mr. Bosee were never really parent and child; the adoption was intended to ensure that upon death family benefits would be available to them. Judge O’Toole suggested that it would take a higher court to rule on the issue and provide guidance to lower courts.

The couple have appealed and are also finding political support from Pennsylvania’s Democratic Senator Bob Casey who has written to United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking her to intervene in the case.

I expect that along with an inevitable surge in same-sex divorce, attorneys will be kept busy obtaining orders for the annulment of same-sex adoptions.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang


One thought on “Gay Couple Need Adoption Annulled In Order to Marry

  1. To throw some thoughts on this …….I dont know what Pennsylvania Committed Intimate Law(CIR Committed Intimate Relationship) is in that state in WASHINGTON state I just went through a CIR suit where I had a boyfriend that lived in multiple places as well as stayed intermittently in my home on and off. The judge literally told me that since some marriages only last a week the fact that he did at least stay a week at my house qualified us for a “marriage like” relationship therefore he had a factual based case……so if you go by the new rules of CIR, marriage means absolutely NOTHING in the eyes of the courts and according to this particular judge any boyfriend/girlfriend relationship where moving in for a week at a time is considered a marriage in Washington state…don’t believe me? I can give you the case no …anyways if PA has CIR laws I would think that the marriage issue would be a no brainer as per now case law a one week live in qualifies as a marriage. Family court and local judges “discretion” in the family court arena are out of control.

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