In a seemingly bizarre scenario, a long-time American gay couple are struggling to get married because the one man previously adopted the other.
Drew Bosee, 68, and Nino Esposito, 78, have been together for 45 years. In 2012, fearing they would never see same-sex marriage or civil unions become a reality before they were too old or died, the Pennsylvania men decided to take an unconventional approach.
In an effort to secure basic legal protection for their relationship, Eposito adopted Bosee. It’s a desperate step that a number of gay and lesbian couples took in the past so that they’d be afforded inheritance rights and even a sense of just being recognised as a family.
“We thought never in our lifetime — or in 20 lifetimes — would same-sex marriage happen,” Bosee told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
After marriage equality came to Pennsylvania and then the rest of the US, a number of couples who took the adoption route have since had their adoptions annulled. Eposito and Bosee, however, have been unable to do so.
In June, Allegheny County Judge Lawrence O’Toole denied their request to reverse the adoption, insisting that state law did not allow him to approve their request.
The couple’s attorneys, Andrew Gross and Mikhail Pappas, have appealed the decision to the state Superior Court.
“Our clients were deprived of their rights twice,” Gross told the Gazette. “They did the only thing they could do to become a family, and now they are getting hit a second time.”
Esposito added: “There’s a reason why we did it and it’s obvious. I just don’t understand what the problem is.”
Meanwhile, conservative and anti-gay sites and social media commentators have used the story as a ridiculous example of the “perversity” of same-sex marriage and that it will eventually lead to legalised incest.