Saturday, July 3, 2010

Shirley Tan

Normally, when reading a news report brings questions to mind, further research on the particular subject of the news report can bring about an enlightenment of sorts - questions are answered.

Unfortunately, this wasn't the case with the story of Shirley Tan and Jay Mercado. It was in the video posted below that I first learned of the lesbian couple. Both women were born in Philippines; Mercado is a U.S. citizen -Tan is not. As it turns out, Tan faces the very real possibility of deportation.

After watching the video ( found on I did a Google search on the couple and came upon an article in the Huffington Post and Tan's June 3, 2009 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. These two sources left me with more questions than answers.

The couple met and subsequently fell in love after Tan was brought to the United States by her father on a tourist visa more than twenty years ago. As Tan tells her story, she returned to Philippines after her visa expired and continued her "relationship" with Mercado via long distance phone calls.

At some point, Tan reentered the U.S.; eventually applying for asylum in 1995. Although Mercado was an American citizen, being lesbian, she could not petition Tan on a fiancee or marriage visa.
According to Tan, she was unaware that her application had been denied and that a deportation letter was sent in 2002 until her arrest in January, 2009.

Due to the efforts of California Senator Dianne Feinstein, Tan's deportation has been put on hold until 2011.

According to Tan's testimony, she and Mercado have been in this relationship for 23 years. Tan gave birth to twins 12 years mention in the testimony as to the identity of the boys' father; obviously, it isn't her partner. Under what circumstances did Tan become pregnant? This may not seem relevant to her immigration status, but I bring this up because of parts of her testimony before the Senate.

In order to come across as simply a typical, loving family, Tan mentioned the family's involvement in their local parish, Good Shepard Catholic Church in Pacifica, California. Tan, also, makes mention of the fact that she is an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion in her church. This is the question I have after reading Tan's account; how can a woman in an active lesbian relationship (the two were "married" in California) - particularly one who became pregnant in a most un-Catholic way - become an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion in the Catholic Church.

No doubt, Tan and Mercado will continue to use Progressives, such as Feinstein, to bypass the law and remain in the U.S.. She may escape deportation from this country though I cannot understand how she can continue to avoid "deportation" from the Catholic Church.

Two Moms Fight to Stay Together from Breakthrough on Vimeo.


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