Limited Partnership

M_LP250Limited Partnership (2014)

In business terms, the definition of a limited partnership is that “…a limited partnership must have at least one General Partner and at least one limited partner.”  I think the business definition is pretty accurate in describing the unfair situation in this documentary, except that this partnership is much deeper than business.

IMDB gives us this quick synopsis: “The love story of Filipino-American Richard Adams and his Australian husband, Tony Sullivan.”  Of course, its focus is on how their relationship weathers marriage inequality as it relates to immigration to the US.  Even as Richard and Tony were in a long-term, committed relationship, they were unable to get the needed documents from then INS to be able to live openly together in the US.

One of the first eye-opening facets of this film is that Richard and Tony were among the first gay couples in the country to be issued a marriage license.  And that was in 1975!  I honestly was unaware that this situation had taken place in Colorado, and that the struggle for marriage equality had gone back so far.  Of course the reaction to their situation was far more abrasive and nasty than many of us faced in the 2000’s.

This documentary succeeds because, like many others, it connects a personal story and people to an issue.  How many thousands of people were denied the opportunity to be with the person they loved because they were same-sex couples and had different nationalities?  The idea of finding someone you can love and have a relationship with, then to have it made impossible by your government is deplorable.

So many of us rode the wave of shifting national opinion that made it easier for us to live as openly gay couples.  We had that option depending on the climate of where we lived and our unique situations.  But for those like Richard and Tony, the option just wasn’t there.  And I think even they would say that they were lucky – they got to stay together through force of will.  Many others were separated.

Limited Partnership is a sobering look at LGBT history that tells a story we need to be aware of and respect.  With so many advances in civil rights, we should always know the history behind them so we can learn from them and give thanks to those who helped make it possible.

Documentary Website:

Availability: Netflix, iTunes


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