Trump Administration Halts Visas for Unmarried Same-Sex Partners of Diplomats

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

Reports suggest there at least 10 United Nations staffers in the U.S. who need to get married by the year's end to secure a visa extension for their partner.

In yet another example of media bias against President Donald Trump, USA Today is trying to paint the administration as anti-gay for halting visas for same-sex partners of US diplomats and United Nations employees.

The State Department will now "only be able to accept the accreditation and registration of spouses of newly arrived officials, both same-sex and opposite-sex, as members of the family of United Nations officials as of October 1, 2018", the memo states.

"Those not yet in the country will need to show they're married to secure a visa, potentially forcing those living in countries without marriage equality to choose between a posting at United Nations headquarters or family separation", Akshaya Kumar, deputy United Nations director at Human Rights Watch, explained in a blog post.

Sex-sex partners will not be banned outright.

The official said the United States was aware that many gay couples faced a lack of acceptance in their home countries but that the United States wanted to "ensure equal treatment and reciprocity".

Former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power slammed the decision on Twitter, calling it "needlessly cruel & bigoted", and pointing out that the deadline to marry or leave is fast approaching.

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Out of the 193 member states of the United Nations, just 25 countries have legalised same-sex marriage. "In light of the landmark 2015 Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage, the USA extends diplomatic visas only to married spouses of US diplomats".

For example, in a July ruling, Hong Kong's highest court directed the government to recognize an unmarried same-sex couple for visa purposes.

Currently, 25 countries have recognised same-sex marriage.

This rule has applied to heterosexual domestic partners since 2009. But that government would have to provide documentation proving that same-sex marriage was illegal and commit to accepting same-sex partners of USA diplomats.

A U.S. official said that some 105 families now residing in America would be impacted. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said he opposes same-sex marriage, but he has promised to treat all employees with respect.

Same-sex marriage is not legal in most countries - there are only 26 where same-sex couples can marry.

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

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