United States ends diplomatic visas for UN same-sex partners

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

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

The Trump administration continues their attack on LGBTQ rights in a new directive leveled at the same-sex domestic partners of diplomats and United Nations employees. The U.S. allows issuance of a visa for a "domestic partner" of a diplomat to include a same-sex domestic partner "if the sending country would provide reciprocal treatment to domestic partners of U.S. diplomats and government officials in that country", the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs website says. "As of 1 October 2018, same-sex domestic partners ... seeking to join newly arrived United Nations officials must provide proof of marriage to eligible for a G-4 visa or to seek a change in such status". That allowed them to attain visas and accompany their diplomat partners as household members, a status that was not extended to heterosexual couples.

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.

But critics have called the move unfair to homosexual partners, given a large number of countries do not recognise same-sex marriage.

Partners have until the end of the year to get married or go home.

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power took to Twitter to express outrage. But they could potentially be exposed to prosecution if they return to a country that criminalizes homosexuality or same-sex marriages.

The only exception, however, would be same-sex partners of officials coming from countries that do not recognise same-sex marriage.

"It is an unfortunate change in rules, since same-sex couples, unlike opposite-sex couples, have limited choices when it comes to marriage", said U.N. Globe, a U.N. LGBTI staff advocacy group, in a statement.

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.

Most diplomats affected come from countries where same-sex marriage is legal, another official said, without providing numbers. That rule has been in effect since 2009, but the Trump administration is saying because same-sex marriage is now legal in the USA, it's no longer necessary or fair.

Human Rights Watch deputy U.N. director, Akshaya Kumar, said the policy would "tear LGBT U.N. staff" from their partners, according to Time. The group GLIFAA represents LGBT staff, many USA embassies around the world fly rainbow flags during gay pride month and senior officials speak at the annual gay pride event held in an auditorium and beamed by closed circuit around the building. "The ones really impacted are those who will have difficulties going to a country that performs same-sex marriages".

Latest News