U.S. begins denying visas for same-sex domestic partners of diplomats

Trump Administration to Deny Visas to Same-Sex Partners of Diplomats, U.N. Officials

For foreign nationals coming to the U.S.to work in an worldwide organization, as well for diplomats coming to the USA, the State Department will now make decisions about visa applications that are based on a same-sex marriage "in the same way that we adjudicate applications for opposite gender spouses", the new rules say.

The new visa regulations quickly garnered criticism for seemingly coercing same-sex couples to enter into a marriage that could earn them prison time back home.

The restriction applies to both diplomats and United Nations employees.

The state department official said the policy was needed to ensure consistent treatment with opposite-sex partners, who must marry to qualify for the diplomatic visas.

In a call on Tuesday, the State Department said that after the July issuance of the memo, Trump administration representatives explained to diplomats and United Nations officials that they would try to work with individuals to comply with the new rules.

"Couples already inside of the United States could go to city hall and get married".

Former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power slammed the decision on Twitter, calling it "needlessly cruel & bigoted", and pointing out that the deadline to marry or leave is fast approaching. If by the start of 2019 they're not married, they have 30 days to leave the country. To further complicate matters, the vast majority of United Nations member states do not allow gay marriage.

"Same-sex spouses of US diplomats now enjoy the same rights and benefits as opposite-sex spouses", the note said.

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Unmarried couples have until December 31 to submit proof of marriage.

Currently, 25 countries have recognised same-sex marriage.

The new policy reverses a 2009 procedure put in place by then-Secretary of Sate Hillary Clinton that allowed same-sex partners to obtain a G-4 or spousal visa.

The justification for this move is that gay marriage is now legal in the USA, so it's only fair that gay and straight couples play by the same rules. And unmarried partners who aren't yet in the United States will not be eligible for visas to move there.

Now only 25 countries recognize same sex marriage, while in more than 70 other countries it is punishable under the law, according to the Human Rights Watch.

"Requiring a marriage as proof of bona fide partnership is a bad and cruel policy, one that replicates the awful discrimination many LGBT people face in their own countries", she said.

Yet that exception was not offered to United Nations officials.

The department says it will allow "limited exceptions" if the home country's government provides documentation that same-sex marriage is illegal in the country. In at least 73 countries same-sex sex is illegal.

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