The federal government has recognized a gay couple's 1975 marriage.

Richard Adams and Anthony Sullivan wed in Boulder, Colorado, along with five other gay and lesbian couples who received marriage licenses from a liberal county clerk, Clela Rorex.

Sullivan, an Australian, was in the United States on a limited visa. Adams had hoped to secure permanent residency for his husband but the marriage was declared invalid by Colorado's attorney general.

A letter from the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) denying Sullivan's petition stated: “You have failed to establish that a bona fide marital relationship can exist between two faggots.”

The men fought a deportation order for the next decade. A federal appeals court in 1985 rejected the couple's claims, clearing the way for Sullivan to be sent back to Australia. The men fled to Europe. A year later they quietly returned to Los Angeles.

Adams died in 2012 at the age of 65 after a brief illness.

According to Los Angeles' The Pride, Sullivan was recently issued a green card granting him permanent citizenship as the widower of an American.

“The unique and historic nature of this case cannot be understated,” said attorney Lavi Soloway, who represented Sullivan. “The U.S. government not only apologized directly to Anthony Sullivan, but, for the first time since the Supreme Court established the right of same-sex couples to marry as a protected, fundamental liberty – the Immigration Service has shown its willingness to correctly apply recent Supreme Court rulings and to recognize as valid this same-sex marriage that took place in 1975.”

“This outcome is an example of the potentially far-reaching ripple effects of the court's ruling in Obergefell,” he added.

That ruling celebrates its first anniversary on June 26th.