The Trump administration has begun denying visas to some unmarried, same-sex partners of foreign diplomats and employees of the United Nations (U.N.), Foreign Policy reported on Monday.
The administration is requiring couples already in the United States to show proof that they’ve married by Dec. 31, 2018, or to leave the country within 30 days.
The outlet noted that this new policy means at least 10 unmarried U.N. employees currently in the country will have to get married in order for their partners’ visas to be extended.
Since the 2015 Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage, U.S. policy has dictated that diplomatic visas are only extended to spouses.
The U.S mission to the U.N. reportedly notified couples of the decision in July and it took effect on Monday, according to the report.
“Same-sex spouses of U.S. diplomats now enjoy the same rights and benefits as opposite-sex spouses,” reads the announcement obtained by Foreign Policy. “Consistent with [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.
Samantha PowerSamantha PowerUS to purchase 500M more vaccine doses for world How Trump broke the system that offers protection to Afghan allies Aid airlift underway to earthquake-striken Haiti MORE, the former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., blasted the move as “needlessly cruel & bigoted” on Friday.
“But only 12% of UN member states allow same-sex marriage,” Power noted.
Needlessly cruel & bigoted: State Dept. will no longer let same-sex domestic partners of UN employees get visas unless they are married. But only 12% of UN member states allow same-sex marriage. https://t.co/MjZpRVLYcf— Samantha Power (@SamanthaJPower) September 28, 2018
Alfonso Nam, the president of U.N. Globe, a United Nations LGBTI staff advocacy organization, told Foreign Policy that same-sex couples are at risk of prosecution if they return to a country that criminalizes homosexuality or has not legalized same-sex marriages.
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, according to Foreign Policy.
That exception, however, reportedly does not extend to U.N. officials.
“With this change, the State Department is enforcing parity in the way they recognize opposite-sex partnerships and same-sex partnerships,” U.N. Globe 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.”