A gay man who had to adopt his partner of 46 years for them to be together will now finally be allowed to marry him.

Nino, 79, legally adopted 69-year-old Roland back in 2012 so that they could have some legal protections, as same-sex marriage hadn’t yet been legalised in the US.

Now a Pennsylvania Superior Court has ruled that they can dissolve the adoption and get married – setting a legal precedent in the state for other couples in the same situation.

Before same-sex marriage was legalised, it was common for couples to ‘adopt’ one another so that they could have some protection under the law, for example with things like inheritance.

And although same-sex marriage officially became legal in all 50 US states in 2015, Nino and Roland were told they couldn’t get married because they were legally father and son.

In 2015, Judge Lawrence O’Toole had said he was unable to dissolve the legal guardianship – so the couple took their case to an appeal court.

Judge Susan Peikes Gantman, president of the three-judge Superior Court panel, said: ‘Pennsylvania law regarding same-sex marriage [has] changed; same-sex couples in this Commonwealth may now exercise their fundamental right to marry.

‘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.’

Nino and Roland said they were ‘relieved’, and are grateful for the ‘wonderful Christmas gift’.