U.S. visas denied to same-sex partners of diplomats

APPresident Donald Trump waves to the crowd as he leaves a rally Monday Oct. 1 2018 in Johnson City Tenn

APPresident Donald Trump waves to the crowd as he leaves a rally Monday Oct. 1 2018 in Johnson City Tenn

The United States issues diplomatic visas for the spouses of USA diplomats.

The U.S. Mission to the United Nations portrayed the decision-which foreign diplomats fear will increase hardships for same-sex couples in countries that don't recognize same-sex marriage-as an effort to bring its worldwide visa practices in line with current U.S. policy.

The US has announced it will deny diplomatic visas to same-sex partners of foreign diplomats and United Nations employees.

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.

"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", said Akshaya Kumar, the organization's deputy United Nations director.

1, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and G visas will only be given if the same-sex couple is legally married in their country of origin.

Former UN ambassador Samantha Power blasted the decision on Twitter, calling the move "needlessly cruel and bigoted". After year's end, the Trump administration expects unmarried partners to change visa status or leave in 30 days. To further complicate matters, the vast majority of United Nations member states do not allow gay marriage.

"Effective immediately, 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 organization recommended that partners living in New York City "consider getting married in City Hall" before December 31.

The new policy reverses a 2009 procedure put in place by then-Secretary of Sate Hillary Clinton that allowed same-sex partners to obtain a G-4 or spousal visa.

Human Rights Watch said it is concerned the policy will "have an insidious impact" on same-sex partners from countries that criminalise same-sex marriages.

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.

Critics said the policy could pose a problem in countries that do not recognize same-sex marriages.

But the Human Rights Campaign also noted that getting married in the US still poses dangers back at home for many foreigners.

Now, diplomats and officials at these organizations who are in same-sex relationships will face the choice between getting married and separating.

The policy change was announced in July, when the State Department said it would only "accept the accreditation of spouses, both same-sex and opposite-sex", beginning on October 1. Homosexual conduct is illegal in 75 countries.

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