Senator Feinstein’s Emergency Bill Saves Same-Sex Couple from Deportation

Organizations Urge Her to Co-Sponsor Uniting American Families Act (UAFA)

San Francisco, CA -— April 23, 2009 -— Because federal immigration law does not currently allow LGBT Americans to sponsor their partners, it took an emergency bill introduced on the Senate floor yesterday by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to keep one same-sex binational couple and their family together in the United States.

Jay Mercado, an American woman and Shirley Tan, her Filipino partner, live in Pacifica, California with their 12-year-old twin sons, both American citizens. Shirley had been ordered to appear for deportation on May 10, but the emergency bill will keep this family together at least through 2010.

Their well-documented case was initially brought to the attention of Molly McKay, Media Director for Marriage Equality USA (MEUSA), just over a month ago. Immediately, activists from around the country, including those from MEUSA, Out4Immigration, Immigration Equality and Love Exiles, took up the cause and pleaded with elected officials for help. In the month that followed, the story lit up the blogosphere, was written about in the San Jose Mercury News, and gained national prominence as a feature article in the April 20 edition of People Magazine. (read more)

Social Media Stories: Ashton Kutcher Is King of the Twitterverse and Snakes on a Plane

When I’m asked to give a blurb about KazzaDrask Media client services (in 140 characters or less), I often say we provide new media and traditional marketing and communication services for cool clients. I refer to the people I work for as “cool”, because 1) I wouldn’t work for them if they weren’t and 2) they are a diverse bunch — techies, gamers, activists, academics, bloggers, psychics, Aussies — you get the picture.

Keeping atop of all their industries is a challenge I enjoy and one of the ways I can do this best is with Twitter. Those 140 characters (usually including the tiny url) provide a snapshot into what’s shaking, Twitterverse-wise, and gives me a sense of being generally in-the-know.

Being in the know this week, though, has been eclipsed somewhat by the race between actor Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) and CNN (@cnnbrk) to be the first Twitter user to have 1 million followers (Britney Spears is a distant third with 965,000+). It was neck and neck yesterday, but at 11 pm Pacific Time (or while most of us slept) Kutcher became King of the Twitterverse with wife Demi Moore, actress Soleil Moon Frye and rapper/entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs there for moral support (no, you can’t make this stuff up).

Speaking of things you can’t make up, here’s another story that made the rounds on Twitter the other day some of my Aussie friends I know will appreciate, “Snakes Escape on Qantas Flight.”

Now, let me see if I excerpt just the right point here to make sure my Aussie humor is intact:

At first it was thought the reptiles may have been eaten by the other snakes, but this was discounted after they were weighed on landing.

Have some fun this weekend everybody — and if you’re flying Qantas, you might want to double check that overhead compartment. Although the jet was fumigated after landing, those missing snakes have yet to be found. A bit of PR problem, I suppose, but not to worry, Domino’s Pizza is taking the prize for biggest PR problem of the week — if not year.

(Photo courtesy of Getty Images/Access Hollywood)

The Tall Poppy Pact

The Australians have a phrase called “The Tall Poppy Syndrome” that both amuses their entrepreneurs, yet frustrates them at the same time. The Tall Poppy Syndrome is a way of keeping competitiveness and bragging rights on success to a minimum (American traits we Yanks thrive on).

Working with ANZA Technology Network, we explore the subtleties in the cultural difference between the US and Australia, and the Tall Poppy Syndrome is one of these. Better to not try something and not fail in the Land Down Under than to go down swinging in a pile of your own boasts like we often do in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave (only to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start all over again).

Mick Liubinskas, an Aussie entrepreneur who’s spent some time in the States is tired of the Tall Poppy Syndrome and goes on record with a piece in Australian Anthill online calling out his short poppy mates and asking them to stand up to this pervasive cycle of risk-averseness and underachievement by making a Tall Poppy Pact.

Read more about it — and if you’re an Australian who wants to take a giant step forward even if you might stumble a bit, sign the pact, too.

People Magazine Story on Shirley Tan Case

Writer Susan Young takes the case for the Uniting American Families Act to the American people, in the current issue of People magazine.

A Gay Mom Faces Deportation

The story of Shirley Tan and Jay Mercado that you’ve been following on this blog is broken down for mainstream America. Pick up a copy of the April 20, 2009 issue of People, the one with John Travolta on the cover today. Let’s make sure every dentist’s office in America has a copy in its waiting room!

Vermont Legalizes Gay Marriage with Veto Override

Out4Immigration Says State Law Still Excludes Gay Couples from 1,138 Federal Marriage Rights, including Immigration

MONTPELIER, VT — April 7, 2009 — The Vermont Legislature voted today to override Gov. Jim Douglas’ veto of a bill allowing gays and lesbians to marry. The veto override will allow same-sex couples to marry and enjoy all the state benefits afforded to opposite-sex couples.

Vermont’s governor had argued that the state already had sufficient civil union laws on the books that gave gays and lesbians the same rights as married couples. State lawmakers and their constituents, however, felt that barring gays and lesbians from marriage and limiting them to civil unions was “separate but equal” treatment and not sufficient in maintaining equal rights for all Vermonters.

Vermont now becomes the fourth state to offer full state marriage benefits to its gay and lesbian residents. The other states are Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa.

“Out4Immigration applauds the actions of the Vermont state legislature for standing up for marriage equality,” said Mickey Lim, Vice President of Out4Immigration.

“State marriage rights are a positive step in the right direction for equality for all Americans,” said Lim. “However, regardless of state marriage laws in various states, gays and lesbians in the United States are still denied 1,138 federal rights that will only come when the United States repeals the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).” (read more)

Iowa Supreme Court Says Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

Out4Immigration Says State Law Still Excludes Gay Couples from 1,138 Federal Marriage Rights, including Immigration

DES MOINES, IA—April 3, 2009—-The Iowa Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision today to allow same-sex couples to marry and enjoy all the state benefits afforded to opposite-sex couples.

Iowa becomes the third state in the country, after Massachusetts and Connecticut, to provide all its residents with the freedom to marry. It is the first Midwestern state to offer same-sex couples any type of state-level recognition of their relationships.

“Out4Immigration applauds the unanimous Iowa Supreme Court decision,” said Mickey Lim, Vice President of Out4Immigration. “What a great day this is for gays and lesbians in Iowa who will now have equal state marriage rights.” (Read more)

BREAKING: Shirley Tan Deportation Stayed Until April 22

Read the joint press release from Marriage Equality USA (MEUSA), Love Exiles and Out4Immigration. Watch this space for more on this case and the push by these organizations and their members and many others for Congress to pass the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) now.

VIDEO: Will Tomorrow Be Shirley Tan’s Last Day in the United States?

Please watch this KNBC news coverage of the Shirley Tan/Jay Mercado story that is featured in the blog post below. This is the real deal. The end result of a same-sex binational couple in the United States that is completely out of options to keep their family together in this country. Jay Mercado is an American citizen. The couples’ children are American citizens. And if Jay and Shirley’s relationship could be recognized at the federal level, our country’s immigration laws would protect them.

If the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) was in place, then American gay and lesbian citizens could sponsor their foreign partners, just like opposite-sex couples can.

Hat tip to Queerty for the video and additional coverage.