GLAAD and community act to 'Save Anton'
New York, NY, October 13, 2011 – The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, today launched an online action for community members and allies to speak out and stop the deportation of Anton Tanumihardja. That action can be found here: www.glaad.org/saveanton.
Anton Tanumihardja and his husband, Brian Andersen – a U.S. citizen – were legally married in a ceremony in Washington, D.C. Last week, Anton, a gay man originally from Indonesia who has resided in Philadelphia for the past nine years, was denied a reprieve from deportation by Philadelphia’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) office. Anton may now be separated indefinitely from his husband, Brian, as early as January 13, 2012. Anton’s physical safety would also be put at great risk should he be required to return to Indonesia, where openly gay people are persecuted for being who they are.
“There’s simply no reason that a person should be forced to choose between the person and the country they love,” said Acting GLAAD President Mike Thompson. “The Obama administration has taken important steps to protect gay and lesbian binational families, but has ultimately failed to ensure that those steps are being followed by deportation officers. The consequences are earth-shattering to families like Anton and Brian, who simply want a chance to be together in the place they call home.”
Senior officials in the Obama administration have said that individuals like Anton should not be considered a priority for deportation and that cases like his must be set aside for compelling humanitarian reasons. Yet, in spite of new immigration policies intended to keep all families together, ICE is still moving forward with plans to deport Anton.
“Brian means everything to me. He is by my side in every single situation,” said Tanumihardja. “I can never be separated from him. I love him so much. I will never find anyone else like him. If I could speak with President Obama, I would tell him that I belong in this country because I have a family here – my husband, Brian, and my mother-in-law, Debbie. I love this country very much. I just don’t want it to separate me forever from the people I love most.”