U.S. To Halt Visas For Same-Sex Partners Of Diplomats
03 October, 2018, 10:47 | Author: Edward Snyder
The US State Department said it will no longer issue visas for same-sex partners of diplomats who work for the UN, IMF and World Bank, unless proof of marriage is shown.
The state department official said the policy was needed to ensure consistent treatment with opposite-sex partners, who must marry to qualify for the diplomatic visas.
So, the administration actually banned all unmarried partners from getting visas, meaning diplomats can't just bring their girlfriends or boyfriends. If a same sex partnership is not now in compliance they will have until December 31, 2018 to be legally married for their same sex partner to be eligible for a G-4, or spousal visa.
But on a conference call with reporters Tuesday, senior administration officials emphasized said they undertook a change in policy to accommodate the Supreme Court's Obergefell v. Hodges ruling, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in 2015.
Unmarried heterosexual partners are also not eligible for U.S. visas.
Same-sex couples already inside of the United States could go to city hall and get married.
The move has some worldwide organizations rushing to negotiate with the USA government to make accommodations for workers already in the United States.
United Nations staff come from around the world, and in the vast majority of countries same-sex marriage is not legal.
"US diplomats as of yesterday have to be legally married in order to get this sort of derivative diplomatic status when they go overseas, so these changes are to mirror what USA policy now is", one of the senior administration officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Heterosexual domestic partners of foreign diplomats are also not eligible for USA visas, a State Department spokesperson explained, and the new policy would "ensure and promote equal treatment", according to ABC News. The restriction applies to both diplomats and United Nations employees. According to the United Nations memo, they must submit proof of marriage by December 31, or leave the country within 30 days.
The State Department said they could marry after they arrive, but that would require the non-diplomatic partner to obtain a separate travel visa to enter the US.
USA diplomats had announced the decision to foreign delegations in July, saying the move is meant to render department policy consistent between same-sex and opposite-sex couples. But they could potentially be exposed to prosecution if they return to a country that criminalizes homosexuality or same-sex marriages.
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