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US government makes amends with gay widower, 41 years after rejecting his ‘faggot’ marriage

Nick Duffy June 8, 2016
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A gay man whose marriage was rejected by the US government in 1975 has finally been granted equality – but his husband didn’t live to see it.

US citizen Richard Adams and Australian citizen Anthony Sullivan had tied the knot in April 1975 in Colorado, at a time where same-sex weddings were not recognised anywhere in the world.

Sullivan had applied for a spousal green card at the time to secure permanent residency but immigration authorities told the pair that they had “failed to establish that a bona fide marital relationship can exist between two faggots”.

The United States federal government has now finally agreed to retroactively recognise the pair’s relationship… but sadly it came too late for Adams, who died in December 2012.

Under the settlement, the country’s Immigration Service will recognize the  marriage and grant him a green card as the widower of a US citizen, based on his original application many years ago.

The green card was issued on the 41st anniversary of the pair’s marriage in Boulder, Colorado – which made it into record books at the time and was never invalidated by Colorado officials.

The pair’s union had sparked the first wave of explicit same-sex marriage bans in the US.

Sullivan’s attorney Lavi Soloway told The Pride LA: “When Anthony and Richard met in the early 1970s, as citizens of two different countries, there was no country in the world that provided for immigration for same-sex couples. There was no country in the world that was even discussing it.

“The unique and historic nature of this case cannot be understated.

“The US 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 Court rulings and to recognize as valid this same-sex marriage that took place in 1975.

“Undaunted by setbacks in the 1970s and 1980s Richard and Anthony never wavered in their belief that their marriage was valid and should be treated with dignity and respect. Eventually the Supreme Court and the Immigration Service caught up with them.

“This outcome is an example of the potentially far reaching ripple effects of the Court’s ruling in Obergefell [the 2015 case that affirmed equal marriage].”

Related topics: faggot, Gay, immigration, LGBT, Sexuality, US, US, wedding

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