(NEWSER) – Norman MacArthur and Bill Novak spent the past 15 years as father and son in the eyes of the law; they'll spend the rest of their years as a married couple. The couple, together for more than 50 years, married in Pennsylvania on Sunday, Yahoo News reports. Prior to the ceremony, the men told they were "ecstatic beyond belief."

Novak adopted MacArthur in 2000 after the pair moved from New York to Pennsylvania and realized their legal partnership wouldn't be recognized. "The only legal avenue we had in order to be afforded any rights was adoption," MacArthur says. The "creative" strategy is "entirely understandable," a lawyer says. "It reflects people's deep need to protect each other as family."

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