Trump Administration Halts Visas for Unmarried Same-Sex Partners of Diplomats

Trump Administration Halts Visas for Unmarried Same-Sex Partners of Diplomats

Trump Administration Halts Visas for Unmarried Same-Sex Partners of Diplomats

United Nations staff come from around the world, and in the vast majority of countries same-sex marriage is not legal. The partner must show proof of marriage by December 31 or leave the country within 30 days.

Since 2009, heterosexual domestic partners have not been able to get visas. However, in many situations registering a marriage could put same-sex couples at risk in a way that privately providing evidence of a domestic partnership would not have done.

Reports suggest there at least 10 United Nations staffers in the USA who need to get married by the year's end to secure a visa extension for their partner. That policy was made by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Same-sex couples already inside of the United States could go to city hall and get married.

United Nations human rights official Fabrice Houdart said: "The problem with the new policy is that it doesn't take into consideration the fact that LGBTI people still face a very challenging global environment".

Effective Oct. 1, "U.S. Embassies and Consulates will adjudicate visa applications that are based on a same-sex marriage in the same way that we adjudicate applications for opposite gender spouses", the State Department said on its website.

The Trump administration policy is an example of evolving practices since the Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right.

The Trump administration on Monday stopped granting visas to the same-sex partners of diplomats and officials at USA -based worldwide organizations, reversing a policy put in place by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2009.

A new Trump administration visa policy appears to give the partners of same-sex diplomats a hard ultimatum: get married, or get out.

Akshaya Kumar, the Deputy UN Director of Human Rights Watch, wrote that the change "will have an insidious impact on same-sex couples".

Former US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power decried the policy, calling it "needlessly cruel and bigoted".

Ms Kumar said there are documented cases of death threats being sent to same-sex partners and their families who decide to marry overseas when the act is illegal in their home country.

"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 wrote in a statement. But they could potentially be exposed to prosecution if they return to a country that criminalizes homosexuality or same-sex marriages.

Married same-sex spouses - like opposite-sex spouses - will still be eligible to enter the country, but it remains illegal in most countries around the world for same-sex couples to Wednesday.

"The change in policy reflects the Department's goal to help ensure and promote equal treatment, consistent with the Department's policies regarding opposite-sex couples and derivative eligibility for visas in other visa categories", a State spokesperson said in a statement.

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