The Trump’s administration has begun denying visas to unmarried, same-sex partners of foreign diplomats, officials and United Nations employees, according to USA Today.
The new policy, which took effect this last Monday, gives same-sex partners of foreign diplomats and U.N. workers until Dec. 31 to get married or leave the U.S..
While the new policy will also affect non-married heterosexual partners, it specifically discriminates against non-heterosexual people] as many come from countries without legalized same-sex marriage or ones that only offer civil unions (which don’t count as full-fledged marriages in the U.S.).
Even if these couples try to marry in the U.S., it’s not clear if that’ll qualify them for visas as their marriages wouldn’t be legally binding in their home countries. Furthermore, they could face legal sanctions and violence if government officials in their home countries learn about their same-sex unions.
USA Today elaborates:
“The State Department said in a briefing Tuesday that the policy will affect about 105 families in the USA, 55 of which have links to various international organizations. It was not clear how many foreign diplomats and U.N. employees with pending U.S. posts will be affected by the policy change.
Twelve percent of the 193 U.N. member states represented in New York allow same-sex marriage, according to Samantha Power, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who served under President Barack Obama.”
In a letter signed by nearly 120 House Democrats and sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this last Friday, lawmakers wrote, “This policy sends the wrong message that the U.S. is not welcoming of all people. It also needlessly excludes UN personnel, and places an unnecessary burden on diplomats from countries that do not currently allow same-sex marriage. We urge the State Department to reconsider its decision.”
Power called the new policy “needlessly cruel and bigoted,” but the U.S. State Department claims it will work with individuals from countries that don’t offer same-sex marriage to help find a solution.