Lesbian Mother Handcuffed, Torn from Two Sons, Partner of 23 Years


Why? Because the U.S. Government does not see LGBT people as equal citizens:

"If Jay Mercado, [Shirley] Tan's partner
of 23 years and the mother of her sons, were a different gender, it's
highly unlikely that [authorities] ever would have come. As a U.S. citizen,
Mercado could have sponsored a wedded spouse for legal permanent
residency. But although Mercado and Tan (above) married in San Francisco in
2004, federal law limits the definition of marriage to a man and a
woman, and same-sex partners of U.S. citizens don't have a route to
legal permanent residence extended to straight married couples…
Mercado and Tan, who first
appealed for political asylum for Tan in 1995 and thought their case
was still pending, said they were completely unaware a deportation
order had been issued in 2002. If Tan is deported this week, they will
have to decide between separating two sons from one of their mothers,
or moving the family to a country they have never known."

Thankfully, Congressmen like Jerrold Nadler and John Kerry are trying to help get rid of this injustice.

Binational, same-sex couples face immigration problems [san jose mercury news]


  1. liz templin says

    1. what does “political asylum” mean? i assume it has to do with the immigration process or something.

    2. this is a problem in general when it comes to becoming U.S. citizens. the process takes wayyyyy too long. it’s pathetic.

  2. Jeff Jungblut says

    “Because the U.S. Government does not see LGBT people as equal citizens”

    Now that’s as bit of misleading journalism. The U.S. Government does not see Shirley Tan as a U.S. citizen — gasp — because she IS NOT a U.S. citizen!

  3. paul c says

    Her first mistake was in not being Barack Obama’s aunt. If she were, she would have gotten to be a guest at the inauguration and then gone back to living in public housing subsidized by the US taxpayers.

    Unfortunately she’s just another lezzie. They don’t have rights round these parts.

  4. Gregus says

    @ Jeff Jungblut –

    Are you serious? It’s not misleading at all.

    SHE (Tan) is not a US citizen – the one thing you are correct about.

    Her partner (Mercado) IS. The US Government does not see Mercado (said LGBT person) as an equal citizen. Straight US Citizens have the right to love who they want and to have their foreign partner live with them in the US. This is almost not about Tan’s rights, it’s about Mercado being treated as an equal citizen.

    Not complicated.

  5. GregV says

    “…because she IS NOT a U.S. citizen!“

    Jeff Jungblut, you`ve totally missed the point of the article.
    Jay Mercado is a US citizen, but if she is gay, like all gay US citizens, she is denied the right that US citizens have to sponsor her spouse for residency.

  6. Alex says

    A quick plug for the immigration lawyers who are fighting to help people like Tan/Mercados stay together in this country. While everyone wants to pat John Kerry, et. al. on the backs for doing the right thing, these are the people who are actually waging the battles against the US Government:


    Check them out!

  7. Wit says

    It’s truly disheartening to hear some comments from people within our community against Shirley Tan without finding more information about her case and jumping to the conclusion that she is an illegal immigrant in the first place.

    Shirley Tan hired a immigration attorney and filed for political asylum (one of a few ways to remain in US legally as a foreigner) as her mother and sister was killed by her relative in Philippines and she feared for her life if she remained there. She thought her case was still pending (which would allow her to still remain in the US) and was unaware that there was an order for her deportation in the early 2000.

    This issue is one of the examples why we cannot fight gay marriage state by state as immigration is a federal issue. Even if California and all states in America are to allow gay marriage, Mercado still cannot sponsor her partner to become a US resident because the federal government (under Defense of Marriage Act) doesn’t recognize their relationships.

    I find it interesting that the rights of gay marriage are more focused on financial aspects (filing for joint income taxes, inheritance rights, etc) instead of an issue like this when LGBT families are forced to be torn apart because of the immigration discrimination against our community.

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