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article imageSame-sex partners of diplomats must be married to get U.S. visa

By Karen Graham     Oct 2, 2018 in Politics
On Monday, Donald Trump’s administration began denying visas to same-sex domestic partners of foreign diplomats — a move one former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations labeled “needlessly cruel and bigoted.”
As of Oct. 1, NATO and G visas will only be given if the same-sex couple is legally married in their country of origin. That's the current rule for heterosexual partners, according to the U.S. State Department, noting that the requirement would align with the policy that applies to U.S. diplomats abroad.
"The change in policy reflects the State Department's goal is to ensure and promote equal treatment. October 1, 2018, also marks the end of a transition period from the Department's previous same-sex domestic partner policy for U.S. foreign service personnel. Members of the U.S. foreign service must now be married to enjoy the rights and benefits of spouses. This is based on U.S. law, which now recognizes a constitutional right to same-sex marriage," a U.S. official told CNN.
Not only will the new policy affect United Nations same-sex partners but also the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. The administration originally flagged the new policy back in July, reports Vice.
As of today, any foreign partners in the United States who wish to remain in the country have until the end of the year to submit proof of marriage to the State Department or face being forced to leave within 30 days.
United Nations General Assembly hall in New York City.
United Nations General Assembly hall in New York City.
Patrick Gruban (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Not everyone is happy with the new policy
Critics point out that there are concerns over the implications the policy will have on diplomats whose countries do not recognize same-sex marriages. The sad truth is that the majority of countries in the world do not recognize same-sex marriages.
Samantha Power, the ambassador to the U.N. during Barack Obama’s presidency, spoke out against the policy, saying it was “needlessly cruel & bigoted” and pointed out only 12 percent of U.N. member states allow same-sex marriage.
Human Rights Watch notes that just 25 countries around the world recognize some form of same-sex marriage while same-sex relationships are punishable by law in 70 countries.
"What I'm worried about is those staff members who have difficulties going to a country that performs same-sex marriages... in order to fulfill this requirement," said Alfonso Nam, the president of the UN LGBTQI advocacy organization UN-GLOBE.
"The reality is that the difference between being in a heterosexual couple and being in a same-sex relationship is that heterosexual couples have an incredible number of choices of where they can get married," Nam told CNN. "That is a choice that is very limited for people in same-sex relationships."
More about Trump administration, Visas, samesex partners, only marriages allowed, recognized by law
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