The Advocate
December 21, 2012

Richard Adams, a gay rights pioneer and one half of the first couple to file a marriage equality lawsuit against the federal government, died Monday morning. 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." The couple soon filed a federal lawsuit, Adams v. Howerton. In addition to Adams's years of activism against apartheid, nuclear war, American intervention in Central America, and in favor of gender equity, Adams dedicated several decades of his life to marriage equality, especially for binational couples. The couple is featured in the documentary Limited Partnership, about their life as a binational couple and the fight for equality.