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

UN Globe pride

The memo states: "As of 1 October 2018, same-sex domestic partners accompanying or seeking to join newly arrived United Nations officials must provide proof of marriage to be eligible for a G-4 visa or to seek a change into such status".

Diplomats would be eligible for "limited exceptions" under the Trump administration's policy if they can prove they are from countries that outlaw same-sex partners, the report said.

The UN-GLOBE, advocates for LGBT equality in the UN, said the Trump administration's new policy was "an unfortunate change in rules".

Foreign Policy, which first reported the story, estimates that as of this week at least 10 United Nations employees in the US will be affected by the new policy. It was not clear how many foreign diplomats and United Nations employees with pending USA posts will be affected by the policy shift. Affected couples could marry in the United States, but could face persecution upon returning to their home country.

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

Since the 2015 Supreme Court decision legalising same-sex marriage, the USA policy has dictated that diplomatic visas are only extended to married spouses.

Human Rights Watch deputy U.N. director, Akshaya Kumar, said the policy would "tear LGBT U.N. staff" from their partners, according to Time.

Domestic partners who are already in the United States can get married there.

A new USA government policy may make it impossible for some LGBT UN staff to live together with their partners in the United States.

The change was implemented Monday, and will also apply to diplomats from countries where homosexuality is criminalized, leaving them few options.

Starting today, United Nations staff, including those working at global headquarters in NY, will need proof of marriage to secure visas allowing their partners to reside with them in the US.

But it also rolls back a practice championed by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to extend benefits to same-sex domestic partners of diplomats or worldwide staff posted in the USA, even if they were not legally married.

Same-sex marriage is not legal in most countries - there are only 26 where same-sex couples can marry. The latest policy change, the United States explained in the note, was aimed at ensuring all couples were treated equally.

Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas addresses the General Debate of the 73rd session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in NY.

David Pressman, former US ambassador to the U.N. Security Council in the Obama administration, slammed the rule reversal because the U.N.is "composed of probably one of the most diverse workforces of any organization in the world".

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