“Limited Partnership” Screening

Busboys and Poets, 1025 5th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

April 26, 2015 5:00pm


Decades before The Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8, one gay couple, a Filipino American and an Australian, fell in love and over the course of 40 years took on the U.S. government to fight for marriage and immigration equality.

Limited Partnership is the love story between Filipino-American Richard Adams and his Australian husband, Tony Sullivan. In 1975, thanks to a courageous county clerk in Boulder, CO, Richard and Tony were one of the first same-sex couples in the world to be legally married. Richard immediately filed for a green card for Tony based on their marriage. But unlike most heterosexual married couples who easily file petitions and obtain green cards, 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 this letter and to prevent Tony’s impending deportation, the couple sued the U.S. government. This became the first federal lawsuit seeking equal treatment for a same-sex marriage in U.S. history.

Over four decades of legal challenges, Richard and Tony figured out how to maintain their sense of humor, justice and whenever possible, their privacy. Their personal tale parallels the history of the LGBT marriage and immigration equality movements, from the couple signing their marriage license in Colorado, to the historic U.S. Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage in June 2013.  Limited Partnership celebrates Richard and Tony’s long path towards justice and citizenship as they challenge the traditional definitions of “spouse” and “family.” This tenacious story of love, marriage and immigration equality is as precedent setting as it is little known&hellipuntil now.

Richard and Tony’s personal journey is set against 40 years of historical and political clashes. These critical moments in history are explored through the use of television news clips, newspaper headlines, radio announcements, Tony and Richard’s personal photos and letters, interviews, and animated graphics. Through artful juxtaposition, these sequences dynamically contrast Richard and Tony’s personal battle with the evolution of America’s values, the LGBT and mainstream marriage equality movement, and modifications in U.S. immigration policy.

Also showing Friday 5/1 at the Hill Center at 7:30.

Visit the film’s website and view Community Cinema’s film schedule for more information.