Richard Adams, a pioneer in the fight for same-sex marriage who advocated for that right beginning in the 1970s, died at 65 after a short illness, reported the Huffington Post.

Adams and his partner, Tony Sullivan, actually received a marriage licenses in 1975. A county clerk in Colorado had begun to give licenses to same-sex couples, claiming that state law did not prohibit it, before the attorney general eventually stopped her.

When they applied for a green card for Sullivan, an Australian, immigration services sent them a letter that read, "You have failed to establish that a bona fide marital relationship can exist between two faggots."

They appealed the decision in courts and filed a lawsuit regarding the constitutionality of denying the right to marry to same-sex couples. They were not successful, but it was the first federal lawsuit fighting for marriage rights.

[Image via AFP]