Trump administration revokes visas for partners of gay diplomats
As if the Trump administration hasn’t done enough targeting the LGBTQ community, they’ve started to deny visas to partners of gay diplomats and employees of the United Nations.
According to global news magazine Foreign Policy, the Trump administration now requires those diplomats with same-sex partners already in the US to get married by the end of the year, or else leave the country.
Decision on gay diplomats in line with current US policy
The US Mission to the United Nations said this decision is in line to bring its international visa practices with current US policy and with State Department policy.
Currently, US extends diplomatic visas to married spouses of US diplomats in the wake of the 2015 Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage.
“Same-sex spouses of US diplomats now enjoy the same rights and benefits as opposite-sex spouses,” the US Mission said in a note to UN-based delegations on July 12.
Because of this, “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, the US Mission said.
This policy, which require that foreign domestic partners of diplomats and UN officials need to show that they are married, will supposedly treat all couples equally.
It also reverses the decision by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to give visas to domestic partners of US and foreign diplomats in 2009.
However, that decision didn’t grant heterosexual domestic partners of diplomats a diplomatic visa.
Aside from diplomats of foreign governments and officials of the UN, this policy also covers officials of the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The US government will allow “limited exceptions” to this policy, but only for diplomats from countries where same-sex marriage is illegal.
This offer was not offered to UN officials.
Reactions to new US policy on gay diplomats
Critics warned that this new policy will be hard for same-sex couples in countries that don’t recognize or even criminalize same-sex marriage.
Samantha Power, former US ambassador to the UN, said on Twitter that this new policy was “needlessly cruel & bigoted.”
Power pointed out that only 12 percent of UN member-states allow same-sex marriage.
While same-sex couples can get married in the US, they could be liable for prosecution if they return to their home country where homosexuality and same-sex marriage is still considered a crime.
Presently, at least 10 UN employees in the US need to get married by the new year so that their partners can have their visa extended.
“With this change, the State Department is enforcing parity in the way they recognize opposite-sex partnerships and same-sex partnerships,” UN Globe, a UN LGBTI staff advocacy organization, said in a statement.
“It is an unfortunate change in rules, since same-sex couples, unlike opposite-sex couples, have limited choices when it comes to marriage,” their statement read.
Meanwhile, the human rights group Human Rights Watch said in their statement: “This will have an insidious impact on same-sex couples from countries that ban same-sex marriage or only offer civil unions.”
The LGBT rights advocate group Human Rights Campaign said that the policy “reflects the hostility of the Trump-Pence administration toward LGBTQ people and our friends and allies.”