USA visas denied to same-sex partners of diplomats

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

The Trump administration reversed visa policy this week for same-sex partners of United Nations staff, saying they must marry their partners by the end of the year or leave the us within 30 days of the December 31 deadline.

Straight couples have always needed to be married in order for the partner of a diplomats or United Nations official to receive a visa of their own.

Heterosexual couples must now be married to obtain the G-4 visa.

The G-4 visa, which gets awarded to spouses, had been available to same-sex partners since 2009, when then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton allowed it to ensure that couples could remain together without needing to be legally married.

"The White House must immediately go back to a policy that is fully inclusive and takes into account the dangers faced by LGBTQ foreign diplomats, United Nations employees, and their families", said David Stacy, government affairs director for the gay-rights advocacy group.

In an insulting turn, the government is using the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage against the very people it's supposed to benefit, claiming that their new ruling is based on "equality" for both straight and queer diplomats. It's illegal to be gay in around 69 countries, and several still have the death penalty.

Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power called the policy "needlessly cruel & bigoted".

Unmarried heterosexual partners are also not eligible for U.S. visas.

While UN workers already in the United States could opt to get married, some could potentially face risks at home if those marriage records became public documents, said Alphonso Nam, president of UN-Globe, which advocates for LGBT employees of the UN. "This is based on USA law, which now recognizes a constitutional right to same-sex marriage", a United States official told CNN.

It was detailed in a memo circulated to employees at the United Nations' headquarters in NY last month.

Individuals will be eligible for "limited exceptions" if they can prove they are from countries that outlaw same-sex partners, said Stephen Schlesinger, a fellow at the Century Foundation, a think tank.

"Same-sex spouses of USA diplomats now enjoy the same rights and benefits as opposite-sex spouses", the US Mission to the United Nations wrote in a memo. The U.S. allows issuance of a visa for a "domestic partner" of a diplomat to include a same-sex domestic partner "if the sending country would provide reciprocal treatment to domestic partners of U.S. diplomats and government officials in that country", the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs website says.

The United States issues diplomatic visas for the spouses of USA diplomats.

Diplomats with same-sex partners will have until the end of the year to get married or their partners will be sent home at the beginning of 2019.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert declined to address the policy at her regular briefing with reporters Tuesday. The heterosexual partners of foreign diplomats and United Nations employees are also not eligible for USA visas.

There are now 71 countries that criminalise same-sex relations, according to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA).

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