The United States Department of State has said it won’t issue visas for the same-sex partners of United Nation’s workers unless they’re married causing those workers from countries where same-sex marriage is not legal to choose their career over their relationship.
The State Department on Monday began imposing a new policy that restricts visas for the same-sex partners of staff of U.S.-based international organizations, such as the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
The policy, announced earlier this year, ends a policy spearheaded by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that allowed these same-sex partners to obtain a spousal visa, also known as the G-4 visa.
Now, according to the new policy, the United States will issue a G-4 visa to a partner only if the couple is legally married.
The State Department’s website on G-4 visas currently states: “Effective immediately, U.S. Embassies and Consulates will adjudicate visa applications that are based on a same-sex marriage in the same way that we adjudicate applications for opposite gender spouses.”
That means that U.N., World Bank, and IMF staff from countries that do not recognize same-sex marriage face a stark choice: enter a relationship that could result in prison time back home, or abandon their relationship for their career.
A State Department spokesperson said in a statement that the change is “to help ensure and promote equal treatment” between straight and gay couples. Straight couples must be married to obtain a G-4 visa.
But unlike straight marriages, same-sex marriage is illegal in most countries. Only a few dozen of the 193 United Nations member states allow same-sex marriage, and a small number of countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia still execute people for being gay.
For all new G-4 applications filed at the State Department after Monday, the same-sex partner must be a legally married spouse. For U.N. workers who are in relationships currently recognized by a G-4 visa but are not legally marriage, their partners will have 30 days after the new year to either get married or exit the United States.
Last Updated on Oct 3, 2018