We’ve been covering the story of Shirley Tan here on LezGetReal, a lesbian mom facing deportation and the inability to stay in the U.S. with Jay Mercado, her partner of 23 years, and their twin sons.
The last update I gave told you that Shirley Tan was all out of options and needed a miracle to keep her from being sent back to the Philippines. I am happy to report that a miracle in the form of justice has come to the aid of Shirley, Jay and their two sons, keeping Tan in the country for the time being.
Here is the official press release on that:
Today Senator Feinstein introduced a very rare private bill on behalf of Shirley Tan; Shirley will not have to leave the USA for now and hopefully never. The essence of its introduction is that Tan does not have to leave the USA on May 10th, in terms of the voluntary order issued by DHS. This enables her to stay in the USA, legally, until the private bill passes ( a rare occurrence)- and if it does not come up for a vote then she can stay for the duration of this Congress’s session, which has approximately a year and nine months left. However Shirley’s ultimate savior will be UAFA and nothing else!
This is unbelievably miraculous and indeed an extraordinary measure on behalf of the family. This also gives all our wonderful activists, LGBT organizations, and community supporters and opportunity to hit the streets, the phones, the faxes, the e-mails, the blogs etc. and to fight like crazy for the Uniting American families ACT (UAFA) – in truth the only real long term option for Shirley and the 40,000 other couples/families in this dire situation.
Hence the fight has truly just begun. We now have a face and a family to the desperate situation of all Binational families.
A great big thanks from the Tan-Mercado family to Rep. Speier and her amazing staff as well as Sen. Feinstein and her staff, all of whom showed extraordinary solicitude and diligence through the process. A special mention to the organizations that provided guidance and support; Marriage Equality, Immigration Equality, Out4 Immigration, Love Exiles and all the Media that remained so patient and supportive.
Senator Boxer is co- sponsoring UAFA and we now hope that Sen. Feinstein will do the same as many many others are in as bad a predicament as Shirley Tan has been.
When I spoke to Jay today she was crying with joy and said the whole family including the boys were absolutely overwhelmed with emotion. The news was conveyed to her directly by Senator Feinstein’s office. It has been a long and arduous process and so a very special thank you goes to Attorney Phyllis Beech, San Francisco and Fresno. I will write more later – but now I have to call and tell everyone the good news.
A great big thanks to all the offers of support and help – please join the fight for UAFA as there are many couples suffering the lack of rights. A special thanks to the straight Filipino Organizations and mainstream Press who came forward and recognized the importance of family and offered all out unconditional support for Shirley and Jay.
A very special thanks to:
Mike Swift at the Mercury News, San Jose,
Susan Young at PEOPLE MAGAZINE
Julie Phineas Lez get Real
CBS LOGO NEWS - Chagmion Antoine – for your incredible support and persistence. You did such a fine piece.
With thanks to all the
The Players in order of appearance:
Steve Angeles, Felipino News
Shirley and Jay and the boys
Phyllis Beech- LAW OFFICES OF,
Molly McKay- MARRIAGE EQUALITY
Victoria Neilsen -IMMIGRATION EQUALITYJulie Kruse- IMMIGRATION EQUALITY
Rachel Tiven -IMMIGRATION EQUALITY
Cindi Creager – GLAADCHRIS WADDLING – Marraige Equality
by MELANIE NATHAN
Private Courts Inc. (415) 488-1611;
We are so happy to learn of this news, and are continuing to pray for Shirley and Jay and all other bi-national LGBT couples out there facing similar situations.
We are keeping a close eye on a situation in Florida right now, where a woman named Britta has been held since March 18th, and is awaiting deportation. Her partner of 11 years Carla, is not able to keep her in the country by sponsoring her through marriage, as would be the case if they were a heterosexual couple.
Hopefully with the Shirley Tan case making progress we can see a positive outcome for all binational LGBT couples, whether through the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act or approval of the Uniting American Families Act.
Julie Phineas is a work at home mom of 2 who lives in Southern California. You can find out more about her online by visiting her website at www.juliephineas.com.