Drew Bosee, 68, and Nino Esposito, 78, have been together for 45 years.
Believing same-sex marriage would never become legal in their lifetime, the Pennsylvania couple searched for an alternative means to become a family.
In 2012, to avoid discriminatory laws around things like inheritance taxes and hospital visitation rights, Esposito, a retired teacher, adopted his partner, Bosee, a former writer.
Legally, the couple are now father and son.
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But since gay marriage became legal in their state last year (and the Supreme Court decided banning same-sex marriage in the US was unlawful this year), they are keen to get married.
And, given incest is illegal, there lies the problem.
Esposito told CNN “we never thought we’d see the day” that same-sex marriage was legal in Pennsylvania, so adoption was “the most legitimate thing available to us”.
Now, they want their adoption annulled, but a state trial court judge has rejected their attempt, saying it can only be cancelled in circumstances of fraud.
“We realized we could have a complete union, which is what we want,” Esposito said.
The judge said he was “sensitive to the situation”, but the couple could not marry because of their legal father-son relationship.
They are not the only gay couple in this predicament – others in many US states had also turned to adoption to gain legal rights. They too must first figure out how to annul the adoption within the restrictive state adoption laws.
The judge said he would welcome direction in these types of cases from a higher court.
The couple told CNN they had hoped to be married the same day that they filed their adoption annulment.
“We had our $80 in cash and we were ready to go across the street to get our license,” Esposito said.
But the judge had other ideas, he said.
So, the wedding planning for Bosee and Esposito may be on hold for the moment, but let’s hope it will go ahead.
For more, watch this news report: