Shirley Tan, the Filipino lesbian mother of two, who was set to be deported on May 10, will be allowed to remain in America until at least 2010.

An emergency bill was introduced by the US senate on Wednesday which will allow the family, consisting of Tan, her partner and their twin sons, to stay for the meantime. The bill, however, only applies to this couple.

US federal law does not recognise their same-sex marriage and does not allow same-sex partners to sponsor their foreign partners to gain legal permanent residency.

“Those of us who have followed this case closely are overjoyed for this family. But this case highlights the need for Congress to pass the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) – legislation that has been languishing for 10 years – and would help the estimated 36,000 gay and lesbian Americans in a loving and committed relationship with a foreign partner stay together in the U.S.,” said Amos Lim, co-founder of Out4Immigration.

The Uniting American Families Act, re-introduced in February 2009 by Rep. Jerrold Nadler and Sen. Patrick Leahy would add the words “or permanent partner” to existing immigration law wherever the word “spouse” appears.

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