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Sullivan (Anthony Corbett) v. Immigration and Naturalization Service legal records
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Custodial History
  • Processing Information
  • History
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
    Title: Anthony Corbett Sullivan v. Immigration and Naturalization Service legal records
    Identifier/Call Number: Coll2008-042
    Physical Description: .6 Linear Feet 2 archive cartons
    Date (inclusive): 1974-2009
    Date (bulk): bulk
    Abstract: Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and general correspondence, legal records, court filings and exhibits, newspaper clippings, flyers, and fund raising solicitations regarding the case of Anthony Gilbert Sullivan v. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) from 1974-1986. Sullivan fought INS deportation actions so that he could remain with his partner and United States citizen, Richard Adams.


    The collection is open to researchers. There are no access restrictions.

    Publication Rights

    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).

    Preferred Citation

    Box #, folder #, Anthony Corbett Sullivan v. Immigration and Naturalization Service legal records, Coll2008-042, ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California.

    Acquisition Information

    Date and method of acquisition unknown.

    Custodial History

    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.

    Processing Information

    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.
    Additional materials added to the collecion in 2015 by Kyle Morgan.


    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. Howerton.
    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 undisclosed location.
    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 2004.
    Anthony Corbett Sullivan v. Immigration and Naturalization Service, 772 F.2d 609 (1985), http://bulk.resource.org/courts.gov/c/F2/772/772.F2d.609.84-7317.html (accessed June 23, 2008).
    Sullivan, Anthony and Richard Adams. "Immigration Case," http://www.geocities.com/WestHollywood/Stonewall/1676/1975Marriages/ImmigrationCase.html (accessed June 23, 2008)

    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 1974-1986, 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.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Same-sex marriage -- United States
    Emigration and immigration -- Government policy -- United States
    Emigration and immigration law -- United States -- Cases
    Deportation -- United States
    Sullivan, Anthony Corbett
    Adams, Richard Frank