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Lesbian woman saved from deportation

Henrietta Ronson April 24, 2009
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Shirley Tan, a Filipino woman living in Pacifica, USA, who recently faced deportation, has had the case blocked.

Ms Tan was taken into custody at her home in January for overstaying her 1989 visitor’s visa. She applied for political asylum in 1995 but was turned down by the Board of Immigration Appeals in 2002. Ms Tan claims that she was not notified of the decision.

US Senator Dianne Feinstein has sponsored a bill that puts the case on hold. The emergency measure, introduced Wednesday, stops on the deportation order.

Ms Tan’s deportation had been scheduled for April 22nd and meant that she would be separated from her partner, Ms Mercado and her 12-year-old twin sons. Because the twins are legally permitted to remain in the US, they would not have been deported.

Ms Tan’s deportation has received much criticism from gay rights activists who believe she is being treated unfairly due to her sexual orientation. She has been in a 23-year partnership with an American citizen called Jaylynn Mercado but will not still be allowed a green card.

The LGBTIQ Movement are one of the couple’s many supporters. They have said that Ms Tan and Ms Mercado had been living together in the US on a gay marriage arrangement with Ms Mercado’s 76 year old grandmother and Ms Tan’s 12-year-old twin sons.

“Bayan Muna”, an affiliate of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) allegedly told the Philippines News Agency (PNA) that they could do nothing as the “US federal law does not recognise their union as a family based on their identification as women and their partnership as lesbians.”

Supporters told local media that the decision is an “unjust act” and insisted that the union “be recognised as a marriage and family unit with all the rights that citizenship holds.

”If deported, the Tan-Mercado family will yet be another casualty of the U.S. immigration system.“

The case is just one of approximately 37,000 others.

Ms Tan’s case has come after the controversial Proposition 8 of the State of California was passed last year. The bill is a new amendment to the Californian Constitution making same-sex marriage illegal.

It says: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognised in California.”

Related topics: Americas

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