Via O-blog-dee-o-blog-da, Melanie Nathan's Blog
When all was lost and there was no “next step” for Shirley Tan, about to be deported within mere weeks, Molly McKay of Marriage Equality called my office to see if I could be of assistance. Unfortunately Shirley’s was a losing case and she was told that there was nothing anyone could do to help her stay in the US with her partner of 23 years, Jay Mercado and their twin sons. A native of Philippines, Shirley had been unable to receive any help as there were no groups or organizations that could take this to the next level. Most people do not know how to advocate for themselves at the highest of levels and it is probably a service that is unavailable to most.
Having gone through the pain of being [in] a [same-sex] binational [relationship] myself, I offered to help and had no idea where this would lead, but was willing to stop everything to keep this family together. The saving of Shirley from deportation took a life of its own. I had the idea that we should ask Senator Feinstein for a Private Bill and against all odds and contrary to the recommendation of those who had more experience, we asked Senator Feinstein for a Private Bill.
During this time, and through my advocacy and coordination, Marriage Equality, Love Exiles, Julie Kruse of Immigration Equality, Out4Immigration, GLAAD, People Magazine, all jumped on board and helped with advocacy and strategy meetings. Great commendation must go to Congresswoman Jackie Speier for her help and to Senator Feinstein’s office and her extraordinary group of staffers.
So who would have thought the utterance of my words on the very first day I spoke to the Family when I said “ This case is going to blow the roof off UAFA [Uniting American Families Act]. If I take it on, and it will be at no charge, will you be willing to stand up for UAFA.” Jay said, “Melanie, if we can keep Shirl here we will do anything,” would lead to this: (Read more)
(Photo: Shirley Tan and family with Melanie Nathan (center). Courtesy of KazzaDrask Media)