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Martha McDevitt-Pugh

Owner McDevitt Communications

Martha McDevitt-Pugh

Owner and General Manager, McDevitt Communications Amsterdam, Netherlands.
was with another company when working with you

Working with Melanie has been an incredibly rewarding experience. She is a force of nature, approaching problems creatively, inventing solutions that surprise and delight clients and partners alike. She is tenacious, persistent in working towards her goals, and stretches herself to take on challenges that most would find daunting. She is one of the first people I call if I want out-of-the-box thinking to accomplish unimaginable results.” May 8, 2009


SF Weekly:

"Melanie Nathan is a  firebrand with a shock of dark brown curls and an accent from her native South Africa but citizenship in the United States. Her Israeli wife was able to get a religious visa and eventually permanent residency, but that hasn't stopped Nathan from advocating for other couples not as fortunate. From her office in Marin, she pens gadfly blog postsl, chronicling the latest developments in gay binational couple politics and calling out lawmakers who flip-flop on the issue. (Rep. Luis Gutierrez [D-Ill.], she's talking to you. )The blog gets 150,000 hits a month, some dropping in from the White House and senators' offices, and she gets e-mails from some 40 couples a month. "I know every couple that's in this situation", 

she says. "Her advocacy for one such pair may have helped to get the issue on Washington's radar" 

100 Women we Love Most 2012

Go Magazine's 100 Women we Love  

Melanie Nathan

Her peers call her “a force of nature.” Melanie Nathan, a South Africa-born attorney, used her law school experience to assist African workers who were victims of apartheid in the 1980s. After immigrating to the U.S., she founded Private Courts, Inc., a mediation and human rights advocacy firm in Marin County, California. She is also a prolific blogger and journalist who uses her writing “as a platform for my advocacy work…to get results such as helping LGBT asylum seekers.” It’s taken her to some controversial places: regular communication with the author of Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill, an investigation of “corrective rape” of lesbians in South Africa, which led to a Parliamentary Task team. In addition to her blog, O-Blog-Dee-O-Blog-Da, she contributes to The Advocate, LGBTQ Nation and others. Nathan is co-producer of GAY U.S.A. the Movie, a documentary debunking the myths that impact gay rights. “No American, least of all our own community, should sit back and allow prejudice and discrimination to continue. This is the final frontier of the civil rights movement in America,” Nathan argues. “Each and every one of us has a duty to tell our stories, and not one ear should be spared.”



Lead Advocate and Strategist on Case

San Francisco, California “This is a good day for this family, but their fight is not over,” said Chris Waddling, Director for Marriage Equality USA. Shirley Tan, California mother of two who was to be deported April 3rd has been given a stay of deportation until April 22nd pending the possibility of further action. Thanks to the heroic efforts of her counsel, Melanie Nathan, lawyer Phyllis Beech, Rep. Jackie Speier [CA-12], and Senator Dianne Feinstein..."   This ultimately led to a Private Bill for Ms. Tan.



Shirley Tan testifies for UAFA

June 03, 2009



Melanie and Congressman Jerrold Nadler. Advocacy for The Uniting American Families Act. (UAFA)

Bi-national Same-Sex Couples in the USA are discriminated against under the Immigration Law; often separated or exiled due to the Defense of marriage Act which precludes the American partner from sponsoring the foreign partner for a Visa or immigration into the USA.


Senator Patrick Leahy (VT)  &Melanie Nathan, after Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings for UAFA



Research and Investigation of Human Rights issues in Africa; South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe. 


Research and Articles on David Bahati the author of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda.


Speaking to Reporters outside South African parliament before meeting with Minister of Justice, together with Ndumie Funda of Luleki Sizwe

Bi-National Visa Advocacy

Special Visa Process & Moratorium: Same-Sex Partner Sponsorship

Author of BINAT VISA  and the Petition- Asking Congress to formulate a special interim Visa Program for Same-sex Spouses, Domestic Partners, Civil Union Partners, for entry into the USA, and for the ability to remain and work in the USA – possibly subject to renewal and/or- with a path to immigration.

This can be done in a similar manner to the R1 Visa Process. It should however be less complicated and could be set for termination when UAFA or similar legislation is passed, or until DOMA is repealed, that will grant the rights LGBT Americans are now denied.

Lesbian and Gays can marry, enter into Domestic Partnerships and Civil Unions, in some States and many places in the World, yet we cannot stay together in the USA because we are unable to sponsor our spouses/partners for a green card.

While we wait for immigration equality under the US Immigration and Naturalization Act -to sponsor our foreign-born partners, we endure unconscionable and inhumane situations on a day to day, hour by hour basis. Our partners are persecuted at our airports by the profiling of ICE officials and arbitrarily turned away, despite having visas; our relationships are denied through our inability to live together in the US, or we live in fear, hiding or exile. We lose jobs, we lose homes, we lose our time with extended family, we give up our pensions. We are detained and deported.

Cape Town, South Africa

Keynote Speaker at Cape Town Pride. 2011. Sponsored by British Airways, Cape Royale Hotels, Lexus.

Bi-National Spouses

Immigration Rights & Equality

“The most horrendous form of Inequality- is the one that prevents the very relationship upon which one’s sexuality relies, disqualifying two people from pursuing their happiness.”..melanie

Carla:  “I am at a loss for words; this has been a very emotional year. I applaud the NYCLU New York Civil Liberties Union who took up our cause when others refused.  Also thanks again to Congressman Nadler, our hero; if Britta would have still been in detention she could not have survived this. A special thanks goes to Melanie Nathan who continues to work tirelessly on our behalf.” 

Op-ed: Lesbian Filmmaker Debates Rick Santorum

Kristina Lapinski and Rick Santorum Kristina Lapinski, a documentary filmmaker, found herself seated in the front row next to State Republican Speaker William O'Brien, at One Liberty Lane Hampton, New Hampshire, for Thursday night's Granite State Patriots Liberty PAC candidates forum.

Lapinski, working on GAY U.S.A., The Movie,   held a legitimate ticket, and had her camera secretly poised , while in the company of some 50 heavy hitting Tea Party Republicans, who had no idea who she was or why she was there. . Lapinski and I have been working together;  as she films, I write about news and events for GAY U.S.A., The Blog. This was among the most daring moments. The young, liberal Democrat, dressed in a tailed, wide shoulder, black, double-breasted jacket and white shirt, sporting a star spangled tie, looked  “voguishly” Barnum Circus and quite out of place.

"I felt like I was in the lion’s den," said Lapinski.  read more....


oday a lesbian couple from Africa will arrive in a foreign country with a couple of hundred dollars and two pieces of luggage to their name. That is enough money to survive for a few nights.  They ran for their lives. Literally!

Until they are safe and their escape complete, I cannot reveal the names of the couple, and so will refer to them as Sabdi and Maggie. Their government considers them criminals, just because they love each other. I cannot name their country of origin or reveal their destination, at this time. But will in due course,....