Nino Esposito and Drew Bosee have been together for 45 years. They met at a Pittsburg church on Easter in 1970, but at the time same sex marriage wasn’t valid. In fact it was something they never thought would happen.
They never thought marriage equality would come to their state, so in order to have some kind of legitimacy and protection as a family, Esposito decided to adopt Bosee (ten years his junior). Now that same sex marriage has passed, they’re trying to get their state to annul the adoption, but it’s proving more difficult than anticipated.
Same sex marriage became legal in Pennsylvania in 2014. The couple have petitioned Allegheny County Judge Lawrence O’Toole, who refused to grant them an adoption annulment saying that the state wouldn’t allow it—a decision that brought their case all the way to the Superior Court, which will begin oral arguments in December.
It’s unclear how common gay adult adoptions are, but Esposito and Bosee have said they know of another couple who tried to work the system like they did—the couple they speak of had their adoption annulled quick and easy.
“We knew from day one we would be together forever,” Bosee said to People. “I can’t say why we felt that way.”
Their finances and properties were equally shared throughout their 45-year long relationship. Each had the power of attorney over the other and each was allowed to visit the other during hospitalizations, according to People. For a couple in love, adoption didn’t seem like a bad idea if it grants you basic rights.
“We’ve always looked at it as being in a union,” Bosee said, “and this was just one more notch in committing that union as far as we were concerned… Maybe from looking at it from the outside it seems like [the adoption] should have [changed the way we felt each other], but it was just one more arrow in our quiver of making our relationship that much stronger.”
U.S. Senator Bob Casey is reported to be interested in their case, sending a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking the Justice Dept. to consider issuing guidance in their case and others like it.
What’s interesting is that many friends and neighbors didn’t even know about the adoption, but now that they can, they definitely are in it for the long haul.
“There’s no turning back now,” says Esposito.