Continually finding new ways to be hostile to visitors, the Trump administration has begun denying visas to the same-sex partners of foreign diplomats and United Nations employees, Foreign Policy reports. Same-sex partners will not be banned outright. Instead, under the new policy that went into effect on Monday, the United States will grant diplomatic visas to same-sex couples only if they are married—even if they’re from countries where gay marriage isn’t legal.
According to Foreign Policy, the rule is being applied retroactively, so same-sex partners of diplomats and U.N. officials who are already in the United Sates either have to get married by the end of the year or leave the country.
Of course, the administration is claiming that this new policy is simply in line with how it treats heterosexual couples, writing in a July 12 note to U.N.-based delegations that the new rule is “consistent with [State] Department policy,” and partners accompanying or hoping to join diplomats or U.N. employees must “generally be married in order to be eligible” for a diplomatic visa.
In a statement to NBC News, a State Department spokesman doubled down on this reasoning, saying the policy change is “to help ensure and promote equal treatment” between straight and gay couples, completely glossing over the fact that some couples simply can’t get married under their country’s laws. According to Samantha Power, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, only 12% of U.N. member states allow same-sex marriage–and it’s illegal to even be gay in one-third of the countries on Earth.
She denounced the new policy on Twitter as “needlessly cruel & bigoted”–and it’s hard to disagree.
Needlessly cruel & bigoted: State Dept. will no longer let same-sex domestic partners of UN employees get visas unless they are married. But only 12% of UN member states allow same-sex marriage. https://t.co/MjZpRVLYcf
— Samantha Power (@SamanthaJPower) September 28, 2018