Man Adopts His Partner to Avoid Inheritance Taxes

This odd tale began nearly 45 years ago when John met Gregory at a gay bar in downtown Pittsburgh. Forty five years later the loving couple has been through losing friends to Aids, the gay rights movement and Pennsylvania constitutional laws that prevented them from becoming a married couple.

Now at 65 and 73 they face financial and emotional in-securities. Fearful of financial strains due to Pennsylvania’s inheritance taxes John adopted Gregory. Now instead of being a couple they are father and son.

Gregory is the older of the two, but because John’s father is still alive he could not legally adopt him.

In states such as Pennsylvania, same-sex couples still struggle with health-care decision-making and filing statuses on their state taxes.

John and Gregory had considered marrying in another state. But they found out that because Pennsylvania does not recognize their marriage they would still be subjected to the inheritance laws.

After their lawyer filled out the proper paperwork Gregory and John had a 15-minute hearing at the courthouse.

They had to answer several questions including, “How long had they known each other? How long had they lived together? How long had they been in their current place?”

Before making a final decision the judge asked, “I am really curious, why are you adopting [Gregory]?”

‘Because it’s our only legal option to protect ourselves from Pennsylvania’s inheritance taxes,’” John explained. “He got it immediately.”

The judge signed the adoption papers on the spot. He handed the papers to the clerk then turned to John and said, “Congratulations, it’s a boy.”

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