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Decades before The Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8, one gay couple fell in love and took on the US government to fight for marriage and immigration equality.
Filipino American Richard Adams and Australian Tony Sullivan met in 1971 in Los Angeles and quickly fell in love. In April 1975, thanks to a courageous county clerk in Boulder, CO, they became one of the first same-sex couples in the world to be legally married. Richard immediately filed for a green card for Tony based on their marriage. But unlike most heterosexual married couples who easily file petitions and obtain green cards, Richard received a denial letter from the Immigration and Naturalization Service stating, ”You have failed to establish that a bona fide marital relationship can exist between two faggots.”
To prevent Tony’s impending deportation, and outraged by the tone, tenor, and politics of this letter, the couple sued the U.S. government. This became the first federal lawsuit seeking equal treatment for a same-sex marriage in U.S. history. Over four decades of legal challenges, Richard and Tony figured out how to maintain their sense of humor, justice, and whenever possible, their privacy. This tenacious story of love, marriage, and immigration equality is as precedent-setting as it is little-known – until now.
A discussion will follow the film.