Richard Adams, gay marriage advocate called “f*ggot” by INS in 1975, has died

An amazing piece of gay history has just died, and it’s someone I don’t think I even knew about: Richard Adams.

The Advocate has the story, and there’s also a wonderful video looking at Adams and his partner Tony Sullivan, and their battle for recognition of their “gay” marriage a good 30+ years ago. Amazing footage:

Limited Partnership Trailer 30 July from Kirkym on Vimeo.

And here’s the Advocate:

Adams and his partner, Tony Sullivan, met in 1971 in Los Angeles and were legally wed in Colorado on April 21, 1975, by a Boulder city clerk with five other same-sex couples. Later that year Adams filed a petition with the government to make Sullivan a permanent resident as a spouse of a U.S. citizen. According to reports, the couple received a letter from the Immigration and Naturalization Service on November 24, 1975 that read, “You have failed to establish that a bona fide marital relationship can exist between two faggots.”

Here’s a snapshot of the immigration document:

Screen Shot 2012-12-19 at 10.16.51 PM

Simply amazing to imagine that this is (was) our government. Note that our government recognizes gay marriages now.  They just use nicer language to deny us our rights. :)  Still, a lot has changed.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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  • R.I.P. for one of our heroes.

  • nicho

    It’s all the more significant that this was 1975. After Stonewall, after a lot of other civil rights advances. If this were in 1955, you could say it was just reflective of the times. But this is just hate speech.

  • I wonder who the jerk was that typed that response to them from the INS. Makes me wish evil upon them.

  • mirror

    Hey, I was just about to note that it should have been “Not that”.

  • Their pioneering relationship is an important part of Gay history–at least Adams lived long enough to see the beginnings of his dream come true. My condolences to Tony Sullivan–and may Richard rest content in our memory as a hero for freedom and equality.

  • Stev84

    It’s “not that”. “Note that” says the opposite of what you mean

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