Court clears way for PA man’s same-sex marriage

Roland “Drew” Bosee Jr. and Nino Esposito plan to get married soon, now that the state Superior Court has ordered a lower court to revoke Esposito’s adoption of Bosee.

Esposito, 80, and Bosee, 70, have been together for about 45 years. They live in a suburb of Pittsburgh. In 2012, Esposito adopted Bosee to secure limited legal rights.

“They wanted to have some semblance of recognition as a family,” said Andrew M. Gross, the couple’s attorney. “They wanted inheritance rights, hospital-visitation rights and legal status as a family.”

But after marriage equality went into effect in Pennsylvania in 2014, the couple wanted the adoption revoked, so they could get married.

“Case law permits the annulment of an adoption decree if the annulment is in the best interests of the adoptee,” explained Gross.

Last year, Allegheny Common Pleas Court Judge Lawrence O’Toole denied the request. The couple appealed in state Superior Court, and O’Toole asked for quidance, Gross added.

On Dec. 21, the court told O’Toole to dissolve the adoption.

“Although the [state] Adoption Act does not expressly provide for the annulment of the adult adoption, case law does allow it in certain scenarios,” wrote President Judge Susan Peikes Gantman.

“This has been a 21-month ordeal for my clients,” Gross said. “They’re elated that it’s finally over. Their constitutional right to marry has been vindicated. It’s a wonderful Christmas present for them.”

Gross also thanked the ACLU of Pennsylvania for filing an amicus brief.

“We believe the ACLU’s brief was helpful in explaining the relevant case law to the Superior Court,” Gross said.

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Tim Cwiek has been writing for PGN since the 1970s. He holds a bachelor's degree in history from West Chester State University. In 2013, he received a Sigma Delta Chi Investigative Reporting Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for his reporting on the Nizah Morris case. Cwiek was the first reporter for an LGBT media outlet to win an award from that national organization. He's also received awards from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, the National Newspaper Association, and the Keystone Press.