(CN) – A Pennsylvania man who adopted his same-sex partner can undo the adoption to marry him, the state’s superior court ruled.
After being in a relationship for more than 40 years, N.M.E. adopted R.A.B. Jr. in 2012 for financial and estate-planning purposes.
Same-sex marriage became legal in Pennsylvania in 2014 and nationwide one year later, but the two men were unable to marry due to the adoption.
N.M.E. filed a petition to annul the adoption, which included an affidavit of consent from R.A.B. Jr. However, the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Orphans’ Court denied the petition in June 2015.
N.M.E. appealed to the Pennsylvania Superior Court, arguing that the orphans’ court had violated his fundamental right to marry and failed to consider R.A.B. Jr.’s best interest.
The superior court ruled in favor of N.M.E. in a Dec. 21 opinion written by President Judge Susan Peikes Gantman.
“Our sister states have permitted adults in adoptive parent-child relationships to annul an adoption in order to marry, even where the relevant adoption statute does not expressly provide for that annulment,” Gantman wrote on behalf of a three-judge panel.
She added that N.M.E.’s case presented “wholly new and unique circumstances.”
“Therefore, where a same-sex couple, who previously obtained an adult adoption, now seeks to annul or revoke the adoption in order to marry, the Orphans’ Court has the authority to annul or revoke the adult adoption,” Gantman wrote.
The Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed the orphans’ court decision and remanded the case for an order annulling the adoption.