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By selecting "AGREE" below, you affirm that you have read this agreement in its entirety, and understand and totally consent to the terms and conditions. Naegle, as next of kin, had visiting privileges when Rustin was hospitalized for a perforated appendix and peritonitis and was eventually executor of the will.
Despite the oddness of the arrangement, it was, all things considered, legally seamless. Now that marriage equality is an American right, partner adoptions are hard to fathom, an artifact of an earlier societal paradigm that, in a remarkably short period of time, has come to seem inconceivable.
It is easy to forget that an American state would not decriminalize sodomy until ; that as late as , gays and lesbians could not legally buy a drink in a New York City bar; that even after the Stonewall riots, in , the American Psychiatric Association considered homosexuality a mental illness. Consequently, there are no reliable data — or even flimsy data — as to the number of such adoptions, and experts in the field are unwilling to hazard a guess.
The practice seems to have taken hold amid the tumult of the s and s, during rampant discrimination and the onset of the AIDS crisis.
Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, ended a long period during which men and women, in exchange for medical, financial and legal benefits, pretended to be something they emphatically were not. But until such couples, most of whom are now elderly, unwind their adoptions, their relationships are either stranded in a kind of limbo or something worse: For the time being, a lot rests in the hands of the judges, who have the power to vacate adoptions.
Elizabeth Schwartz, who practices L.
Here are a few stories of couples who, like Rustin and Naegle, went through adoptions, but lived long enough to marry. Sergio Cervetti, 74, and Kenneth Rinker, When Rinker first saw Cervetti, in , he kept his mouth shut; Cervetti was with a date.
They were in college: A week later, on Halloween night at a Dupont Circle townhouse, the men — both adorably dimpled, according to old photos — met again. Cervetti and Rinker first discussed adoption with each other when they moved to Pennsylvania from New York, in Cervetti had a professorship at New York University and was keen to put Rinker on his health insurance. Of course, because the two were in it for the long haul, the inheritance tax was a concern, too.
So in , Cervetti, as the elder, adopted Rinker. It was the only choice, their lawyer said; Pennsylvania, they assumed, would never recognize same-sex marriage.
Rinker and Cervetti never had to test the validity of the adoption; both remained healthy, so neither inheritance nor hospital visitation policies were an issue. The father-son dynamic never bothered them.
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The arrangement lasted 15 years. It was vacated on July 7, , less than a month after the Supreme Court ruling. Three days later, Cervetti and Rinker married. History Magazines. Interior Design Magazines. Literary Magazines.
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