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
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
“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.