Bucks County Couple Who Were Once Father and Son Get Married

Norman MacArthur and Bill Novak

In what is perhaps one of the more bizarre marriage stories to come out of Pennsylvania since marriage equality was legalized a year ago this May, two men who were once father and son tied the knot in Bucks County. But it’s not quite as strange as it sounds.

Norman MacArthur, 74, and Bill Novak, 76, had been together almost 40 years when they moved to Pennsylvania in 2000. Before that, they lived in New York, where they enjoyed a civil union partnership, but no such thing was available in PA at the time.

“When we moved to Pennsylvania, we had both retired and we were of the age where one begins to do estate planning,” MacArthur told Yahoo Parenting. “We went to a lawyer who told us Pennsylvania was never going to allow same-sex marriage, so the only legal avenue we had in order to be afforded any rights was adoption.”

It’ll come as no surprise that the suggestion took them aback, but they learned that other couples had done the same thing to secure their rights. “[Without the adoption] we would be legally strangers. … Most importantly, it would allow us visitation rights in a hospital. … If we were legally related, I would be allowed into the ER and entitled to know what Bill’s condition was if anything should happen.”

But then it happened: Pennsylvania legalized same-sex marriage. So earlier this month, the couple went to court to have their adoption vacated. The judge granted their proposal—which is the first time such a thing has been done for a same-sex couple in Pennsylvania—and they prepared to walk down the aisle.

“We wanted to get the marriage done fairly quickly after the court vacated the adoption,” MacArthur says. “At that point we didn’t have any legal protection so we wanted to get it taken care of.”

Yahoo Parenting reports that the ceremony was a small affair with close family and friends. On the day and experience, MacArthur says “It was very much worth the wait.”