Anthony Sullivan is asking the federal
government to recognize his 1975 marriage to another man.
Sullivan, a 72-year-old Australian
native, and Richard Adams were among the handful of gay and lesbian
couples allowed to marry in Boulder County when the clerk interpreted
Colorado's gender neutral marriage statutes to include gay couples.
The Colorado attorney general rebuked the clerk and declared the
licenses null and void.
Adams tried to use the marriage to
sponsor his husband for a green card.
“You have failed to establish that a
bona fide marital relationship can exist between two faggots,” the
former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) wrote in denying
The couple sued the federal government
to recognize their marriage. After a decade of litigation, the Ninth
Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against them.
Sullivan – without his husband who
died in 2012 – on Monday will ask the Los Angeles Field Office of
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to reopen the case.
“We are asking the government to
reopen and reconsider the denial of the marriage-based green card
petition filed by Richard Adams in 1975 and to approve that
petition,” said Lavi Soloway, who is representing Sullivan. “In
doing so, the Immigration Service will fulfill the promise of
equality guaranteed by the Constitution. Granting our motion and
approving this petition is consistent with the recent policies of the
administration and the Immigration Service to recognize the marriages
of same-sex couples. The widows and widowers of gay and lesbian
Americans who seek to resolve their immigration status must have
access to the provisions of law already available to other surviving
spouses of U.S. citizens who are permitted to self-petition for a
Following last year's Supreme Court
decision striking down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act
(DOMA), the federal government announced that it would recognize the
marriages of gay couples.
more about this case at the DOMA Project.)