A 1975 letter from a district director of the Justice Department’s Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) told a gay couple that their marriage could not be recognized because they “failed to establish that a bona fide marital relationship can exist between two faggots," reports Buzzfeed.
The letter was in response to Richard Adams and Anthony Sullivan, one of the first same-sex couples in the U.S. to try to get their marriage recognized by the federal government. A clerk in Colorado married the couple and they tried to use the marriage so Australian native Sullivan could remain in the U.S.
Although the couple fought the INS decision, they were rejected by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court declined to hear their case. Sullivan’s challenge against deportation was rejected by the 9th Circuit in a decision by Judge Anthony Kennedy, now a Supreme Court justice.
Although Adams died in 2012, Sullivan has continued to keep their case and the issues behind it in the spotlight.
The government has since issued an apology written by León Rodriguez, director of INS successor the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which reads:
“This agency should never treat any individual with the disrespect shown toward you and Mr. Adams. You have my sincerest apology for the years of hurt caused by the deeply offensive and hateful language used in the November 24, 1975, decision and my deepest condolences on your loss.”
Watch a trailer for the documentary Limited Partnership which examines the case, AFTER THE JUMP...