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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Okay, somebody say, "April Fool!"

Note: This is a joke, right?

Somebody say it's a cruel joke and we'll all roll our eyes and shake our heads sadly and then get on with the day.

I'm afraid that during the same period of time in our history when slowly, state by state by state, lesbian and other queer folk like us are beginning to be granted the opportunity to exercise the Civil Rights guaranteed to us in the Constitution of these United States, this same horrifyingly draconian scenario is also unfolding before our very eyes.

Perhaps I don't want to believe this because 33 years ago in June, I lost custody of our children simply on the basis of my sexual orientation. When, five years later, full custody was finally returned, the nightmare did not end.

For the next 15 years, until our youngest would become "of age" we worried what monster might be lurking just right around the next corner to pull the rug out from under our happiness and stability.

We now have rights of "domestic partnership" in the State of NJ, but we are limited, in the advance of time, about where we move to live out our "Golden Years."

And, as we watch the economic instability threaten the domestic lives of everyone, it is not at all surprising but none the less deeply troubling to watch the lowest people on the social ladder get kicked to the ground.

If no one can say, "April Fool," perhaps we can all say, "Lord, have mercy."

A very sad tip of the hat to Bill for pointing me to this story.

Lesbian mom ordered deported

By 365gay Newscenter Staff
03.31.2009 3:14pm EDT

(San Mateo, California) A Northern California family is expected to be torn apart on Friday when Shirley Tan is scheduled to be deported back to the Philippines, leaving behind her life partner and their 12 year old twin sons.

Tan and Jaylynn “Jay” Mercado were married in San Francisco in 2004. Their marriage was voided, but even if it still were in effect the federal Defense of Marriage Act prevents Mercado from sponsoring her partner of 23 years for immigration.

Were the women a married opposite-sex couple, Tan could be legal.

“From the moment my sons were born we have never been apart. It’s tearing me apart to have to leave without them,” said Tan.

Legislation was re-introduced in Congress last month that would allow Americans in a same-sex relationship to sponsor their “permanent partners” for legal residency in the United States.

The Uniting American Families Act was filed in the House by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and in the Senate by Sen. Patrick Leahy.

With Democrats now in Control of the Congress and the White House LGBT advocates are hopeful the measure will become law.’

“Shirley Tan’s unacceptable situation is just one example of why Congress must pass immigration equality legislation. The Uniting American Families Act, which I co-sponsored, will allow lesbian and gay Americans to sponsor their permanent partners for residency in the United States,” said Rep. Jackie Speier, one of 110 cosponsors.

“In the near term, I am confident that any official who examines the facts in Shirley Tan’s case will come to the conclusion that this hard-working mother of two should not be sent to a country where she has no support network and was the victim of a horrific act of violence.”

“Until the UAFA passes, families like Jay and Shirley’s are at terrible risk,” said Immigration Equality Executive Director Rachel B. Tiven. “We are hopeful their members of Congress will introduce a private bill that would spare their twin boys and the boys’ grandmother from having the country they love tear their family apart.”

It is doubtful though that any legislation could be passed before the Friday deadline.

Across the country, 37,000 couples face similar circumstances.

Last week, the White House issued a statement about the Uniting American Families Act, saying “[President Obama] thinks Americans with partners from other countries should not be faced with a painful choice between staying with their partner or staying in their country.”

Victoria Neilson, Immigration Equality’s Legal Director, stated, “There may be no options for Jay and Shirley under existing law. How can they explain to their children that the U.S. Government does not consider them a family?”


Göran Koch-Swahne said...


Gender neutral marriage is a now a reality in Sweden, 261 ayes, 22 nays, 16 abstained.

Joie said...

Jesus wept and is still weeping.

Frair John said...

I have no words.
I have strong feelings, but no words to describe them.

Funky Grampa said...

A loud Amen to your Lord Have Mercy!

Elaine C. said...

Within the congregation I serve, and among my clergy friends, I know similar couples with similar issues and deportation orders. I pray daily that the legislation to change this passes -- and I email my congressional delegation to that effect.