Early gay activist Richard Adams died Monday at age 65, following a brief illness. Married to his partner in 1975, Adams was one of the first public same-sex marriage proponents. He filed a lawsuit after his husband’s residency application was rejected—and included an anti-gay slur from U.S. immigration—which was the first federal lawsuit seeking recognition for married gay couples. In 1975 , Adams and his partner were one of the first gay couples to receive a marriage license from a county clerk in Boulder, Colo., along with five other same-sex couples. Also on Sunday, Pope Benedict denounced same-sex marriage as a “manipulation of nature” in his annual Christmas message.