Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Anthony Corbett Sullivan v. Immigration and
Naturalization Service legal records
Bulk Dates: 1974-1985
Collection number: Coll2008-042
Collection Size: 1 archive carton.
0.4 linear foot.
ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives.
Los Angeles, California 90007
represented in the collection: English
The collection is open to researchers. There are no access
Researchers wishing to publish materials must obtain permission in
writing from ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives as the physical owner.
Researchers must also obtain clearance from the holder(s) of any copyrights in
the materials. Note that ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives can grant
copyright clearance only for those materials for which we hold the copyright.
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain copyright clearance for
all other materials directly from the copyright holder(s).
Box #, folder #, Anthony Corbett Sullivan v. Immigration and
Naturalization Service legal records, Coll2008-042, ONE National Gay and
Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California.
Date and method of acquisition unknown.
The bulk of the records of this collection appear to have come from a
legal office, possibly that of Sullivan's lawyer, David M. Brown.
Formerly part of the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives subject
files. Collection processed by Michael C. Oliveira,
June 24, 2008.
Processing this collection has been funded by a generous grant from the
National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
Anthony Corbett Sullivan met Richard Frank Adams at the Closet Bar in
Los Angeles in 1971 and within a few months they were living together.
Sullivan, an Australian citizen had been traveling on a tourist visa, and by
1974 he had exhausted all his legal options to stay in the United States. It
was at this time that Sullivan and Adams decided to fight for their right to
continue to live together in the United States. The Immigration and
Naturalization Service (INS) initiated deportation proceedings in April 1975,
but granted Sullivan a continuance to file for political asylum on the grounds
that he would face persecution if he returned to Australia. During the
continuance it came to Sullivan and Adams' attention that marriage licenses
were being granted to same-sex couples in Colorado; they traveled to Colorado
and were married on April 21, 1975, by Robert A. Sirico and Freda Smith, both
ordained ministers of the Universal Fellowship of the Metropolitan Community
Church (UFMCC). Adams then petitioned the INS for spousal status for Sullivan;
while the petition was being considered, the INS adjourned Sullivan's
deportation hearing. When the deportation hearing resumed in February 1980,
Sullivan sought its suspension, claiming that deportation would cause extreme
hardship to himself and Adams. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) rejected
Sullivan's hardship claims and refused to consider Adams to be "a qualifying
relative to whom hardship may be shown under the express provisions of the
statue." Their lawyer, David M. Brown, appealed the BIA's ruling in Adams v.
Prior to their marriage in Colorado, Sullivan and Adams were married in
a church ceremony by Troy Perry of the UFMCC. The UFMCC supported their right
to marry through the Anthony Sullivan Defense Fund League, which organized
demonstrations and fundraisers during the INS appeals process to the ruling of
the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
On September 30, 1985, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the INS the decision
to deny Adams' visa petition, holding that, even if legal, the marriage would
not meet the standards of federal immigration law. The court also affirmed the
ruling in Adams v. Howerton rejecting Sullivan's hardship claims. Sullivan was
ordered to leave the United States. However, after traveling in Europe the
couple secretly returned to the United States, where Sullivan, a writer,
continues (2004) to live illegally with Adams, who works at a law firm, in an
Caldwell, John. "Legally Wed in Colorado, 1975: Pioneering Gay Couple
Anthony Sullivan and Richard Adams Didn't Just Get Legally Married 29 Years
Ago; They Stood Up And Demanded To Be Recognized." The Advocate, 30 March
Scope and Content of Collection
The collection, which was formerly part of the ONE subject files,
consists of Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and general
correspondence, legal records, court filings and exhibits, and newspaper
clippings along with flyers and fund raising solicitations from the Anthony
Sullivan Defense Fund League. The Legal records and the Correspondence folders
document Sullivan's deportation and appeals process from 1974-1985, and are
arranged chronologically. The Correspondence folder also contains a letter from
Sullivan, mailed to ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives in May 2009, giving a
history of the case. The materials from the Women's Employment Options
Conference (WEOC) 1978 include Sullivan's conference name tag. The Photographs
folder contains a headshot of Sullivan and a photograph of Jim Kepner, Troy
Perry, and Frank Zerilli.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this
collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Adams, Richard Frank, circa
Emigration and immigration--Government
Emigration and immigration law--United
Same-sex marriage--United States
Sullivan, Anthony Corbett, circa