PENNSYLVANIA, November 6, 2015– Retired teacher Nino Esposito and Roland “Drew” Bosee, a retired freelance writer, have been a couple for over forty years. Since the Supreme Court delivered an opinion stating that state law could not prevent homosexual couples from marrying one another, Esposito and Bosee have wanted to wed.
However, unlike some homosexual couples, they have hit a snag. While the two are unrelated to each other, Bosee is actually the adopted son of Esposito, which has caused a predicament preventing the two from marrying one another.
The couple says that Esposito adopted Bosee as his son in 2012 because it was the only way for the two to have a legalized family structure.
Esposito, 78, said to CNN in a telephone interview that “we never thought we’d see the day” that same-sex marriage would be legal in Pennsylvania.
Bosee, 68, said the adoption “gave us the most legitimate thing available to us” at the time.
The ACLU of Pennsylvania, a group supporting the couple, says Esposito and Bosee are not alone in this situation. The ACLU says it is aware of many couples in states across the U.S. that lawfully utilized adoption laws to safeguard their relationships.
Esposito and Bosee claim that they knew of other couples in Pennsylvania who were able to annul adoptions in order to get married.
Now, Esposito and Bosee are trying to nullify the adoption so they can get married. However, Judge Lawrence J. O’Toole rejected their request and said that his ability to annul adoptions is mostly narrowed to cases of fraud.
O’Toole said he was “sensitive to the situation” and sought direction from higher courts. However, he added that despite the fact Esposito and Bosee want to get married, “they cannot do so because they are legally father and son.”
“This Court welcomes direction from our appellate courts in handling parallel cases,” O’Toole wrote.
The ACLU defended O’Toole’s ruling and agreed with his request for higher courts to step in and provide guidance.
“We don’t believe the Pennsylvania judge who refused to annul this adoption was unsympathetic,” said Witold Walczak, the Legal Director of the ACLU Pennsylvania, “he simply felt that the legal path to doing so should be forged by an appellate court.”
United States Sen. Bob Casey (D-Penn.), in a letter Monday to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, asked that the Justice Department weigh in on the side of Esposito and Bosee.
“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.”