New Trump Administration Policy Denies Visas To Unmarried Partners of Same-Sex U.N. Employees
The Trump administration has begun denying visas to the partners of unmarried, same-sex diplomats and employees at the United Nations in a new policy made effective on Monday.
The policy effectively makes marriage a requirement to obtain a visa. Moreover, the new mandate gives LGBT partners working for the United Nations until the end of the year to get married or be forced to leave the United States.
The change in policy was announced last month in a memo circulated at the United Nations headquarters, and only affects unmarried, foreign workers and officials.
It is estimated that there are 10 current foreign employees who would need to get married in order to comply with these new rules or else face deportation.
Many human rights advocates are critical of this move, and point out that more than 75 percent of the countries represented in the United Nations either restrict, ban, or outright prosecute homosexual couples seeking to get married.
Even though the laws regarding same-sex marriage are on the whole more egalitarian in the United States than in many other countries, for some same-sex couples employed at the United Nations, this fact offers little relief.
If same-sex partners from countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran or the Central African Republic choose to get married in the United States in order to remain in the country, they could face criminal prosecution upon their return to their home countries.
“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 UN headquarters or family separation,” wrote Akshaya Kumar, the deputy director at the Human Rights Watch.
Officials at the State Department claim the change promotes equal treatment for all United Nations workers hoping to bring their spouses or loved ones to the United States, since unmarried, heterosexual partners of United Nations employees are already not eligible to obtain visas.