Lavi Soloway told the Associated Press that “After 40 years of fighting he missed the outcome at the Supreme Court, but he felt optimistic. . .You can draw a straight line from Tony and Richard’s efforts in the 1970s to that piece of paper in 2012,” The ‘he’ Soloway is referring to is Richard Adams who passed away after a short illness on 17 December at the home he shared with his long-time partner Tony Sullivan. Richard was 65.
Richard and Tony were among the earliest voices pushing for same-sex marriage. The two had been together for 43 years. In 1975, they were granted a marriage license, but were unable to get the government to recognize it. This was a time when being openly gay, let along an openly gay married couple, was subject to various forms of intimidation. The two were subjected to anti-gay slurs even from government officials. According to Soloway “They felt that in the end, the most important thing was their love for each other, and in that respect they won. No government or no law was ever able to keep them apart.”
The couple were granted a license by Clela Rorex after she learned that there was nothing in Colorado law that actually forbade same-sex marriage. The two wished to marry because Tony was from Australia. They put in an application to the INS to get Tony residency status, but all they received was a letter which stated “You have failed to establish that a bona fide marital relationship can exist between two faggots.”
The couple sued to get the marriage recognized, but all they received were rejections. He would go on to appear on the “Today” show and “The Phil Donahue Show”. Richard would be unable to get residency in Australia either, and they spent a year in Europe before returning to the US.
Prior to his death, Richard was working on the cases challenging the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 with Soloway.