Gay rights pioneer Richard Adams dies
Richard Adams, along with his longtime partner Tony Sullivan, challenged for the right of gays to be married to the person they love, long before it was even a blimp on the political radar. Mr. Adams died on December, 17th. I had never heard of him or Mr. Sullivan before reading about his death.
I was aghast that in 1975 these two men applied and received a marriage license in Colorado, by a very supportative county clerk named Clela Rorex. Well, it was Boulder, CO, one of the more progressive parts of the U.S., but still very surprising considering it was the mid 1970s.
Heck back in the 1970s, when Harvey Milk and other gay rights pioneers were campaigning against harassment, arrests, intimidiation of gays, this couple got a marriage license in Colorado. Of course the marriage license wasn't recognized by the state of Colorado.
Since Sullivan was Australian, the primary purpose of getting a marriage license was to get residency status for him by the Immigration and Naturalization Services. By the way, this is the one sentence written reply by the INS to the attempt by Adams and Sullivan, "You have failed to establish that a bona fide marital relationship can exist between two f.ggots."
That is hard to believe today, but a governmental agent, secure enough in his position, thought it was perfectly fine to refer to them in that way in an official latter of rejection.
Adams and Sullivan challenged the bans against them and other gay men and women in the courts, though they lost.