INDEPENDENT LENS
Limited Partnership

Air date: Mon., June 15, 10:00 pm

 

This film chronicles the 40-year love story between Filipino American Richard Adams and his Australian husband, Tony Sullivan. In 1975, thanks to a courageous county clerk in Boulder, Colorado, Richard and Tony were one of the first same sex couples to be legally married in the world. Richard immediately filed for a green card for Tony based on their marriage. But unlike most heterosexual married couples who easily obtain legal status for their spouses, 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.” Outraged at the tone, tenor and politics of the letter, and to prevent Tony’s impending deportation, the couple decided to sue the U.S. government, initiating the first federal lawsuit seeking equal treatment for a same sex marriage in U.S. history.

 

During a lifetime filled with health issues, money woes and legal challenges, Richard and Tony never wavered in their love, lost their senses of humor, or gave up their quest for justice. Their personal trajectory parallels the history of the LGBT marriage and immigration equality movements, from their 1971 meeting at an L.A. gay bar called “The Closet,” to the 1975 signing of their marriage license in Colorado, through the era of AIDS, to the historic U.S. Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage in June 2013.

 

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