limited_partnershipLimited Partnership, the story of a gay couple that married in Boulder, Colo., in 1975, airs tonight as part of the Independent Lens series at 10 p.m. on PBS, Channel 13.

Although we think of the fight for marriage equality as beginning in the 1990s, the movement for equal rights through marriage recognition actually began two decades earlier.

The couple profiled in the film began their fight to get one of the partners a green card since the early 70s. A county clerk in Boulder found that at the time, the Colorado Constitution didn’t ban her from issuing a marriage license to a same-sex couple, so she did.

Once the couple applied for a green card, the U.S. government rejected the application and an Immigration Department flunky wrote, “You have failed to establish that a bona fide marital relationship can exist between two faggots.”

The couple spent decades living out of legal status and the film traces the story through last year.

It’s very well done and you’ll shed a tear for this couple who can’t live apart even though the U.S. government is determined to separate them.