U.S. Begins to Deny Visas to Same-Sex Partners of DiplomatsTop Stories

October 03, 2018 12:15
U.S. Begins to Deny Visas to Same-Sex Partners of Diplomats

(Image source from: The Hill)

The Trump administration has begun denying visas to unmarried, same-sex partners of foreign diplomats and the United Nations employees, according to a media report.

According to a report in Foreign Policy magazine on Monday, the policy affected same-sex partners of diplomats and staffers working at the UN global headquarters in New York. The partner must show proof of marriage by December 31 or leave the country within 30 days.

The bulk of 193 UN member countries do not legalize same-sex marriage, meaning diplomats face an arduous choice.

The report said the new policy meant at least 10 unmarried UN employees currently in the United States will have to get married in order for their partners' visas to be extended.

According to the media reports, since the 2015 Supreme Court move to legalize same-sex marriage, the U.S. policy has dictated that diplomatic visas are solely extended to married spouses. The U.S. mission to the UN reportedly notified couples of the decision in July and it took effect on Monday.

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"Same-sex spouses of the U.S. diplomats now enjoy the same rights and benefits as opposite-sex spouses," read the announcement obtained by Foreign Policy.

"Consistent with the (State) Department policy, partners accompanying members of permanent missions or seeking to join the same must generally be married in order to be eligible for a diplomatic visa," it said.

The former U.S. ambassador to the UN Samantha Power blasted the decision as "needlessly cruel and bigoted".

The President of UN Globe Alfonso Nam told Foreign Policy that same-sex couples were at risk of prosecution if they return to a country that criminalizes homosexuality or has not legalized same-sex marriages.

Under the Trump administration's policy, diplomats would be eligible for "limited exceptions" if they can prove they are from countries that outlaw same-sex partners, the report said. That exception, however, reportedly does not extend to UN officials.

-Sowmya Sangam

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