Trump Administration Denies Visas to Unmarried, Same-Sex Partners of Diplomats

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The Trump administration reversed visa policy this week for same-sex partners of United Nations staff, saying they must marry their partners by the end of the year or leave the USA within 30 days of the December 31 deadline.

If foreign diplomats in America decide to marry their same sex partner while in the United States, they could face persecution once they return to their native country.

According to Foreign Policy, at least 10 current United Nations employees in the USA would need to get married to have their partners' visas extended before the December 31, 2018 cutoff.

According to a report in Foreign Policy magazine on Monday, the policy affected same-sex partners of diplomats and staffers working at the United Nations global headquarters in NY.

"Same-sex spouses of United States diplomats now enjoy the same rights and benefits as opposite-sex spouses", read the announcement obtained by Foreign Policy.

Only 26 countries, or less than 14 percent, have legalized same-sex marriage, per the Pew Research Center, and in 72 countries homosexual activity is still illegal, according to the LGBTI rights group Equaldex.

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In 2014, the State Department rolled back partner benefits and protections for same-sex couples after an unmarried heterosexual couple filed an equal employment opportunity complaint, asking to be recognized as domestic partners.

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.

It is not known how many diplomatic families based in the United States will be affected by the change imposed by the Trump administration.

Critics say it makes it hard for same-sex couples in the many countries where marriage isn't a legal possibility - let alone for those in countries where homosexuality is criminalized.

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

United Nations staff come from around the world, and in the vast majority of countries same-sex marriage is not legal.

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The requirement has become controversial, though, because it creates hardships for couples from countries that do not allow same sex couples to marry.

President Trump at the U.N.in September.

Human Rights Watch deputy U.N. director, Akshaya Kumar, said the policy would "tear LGBT U.N. staff" from their partners, according to Time.

Yet that exception was not offered to United Nations officials.

Ms Kumar said there are documented cases of death threats being sent to same-sex partners and their families who decide to marry overseas when the act is illegal in their home country.

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