A new policy laid out by the Trump administration has made marriage a requirement for partners of foreign diplomats to be eligible for a visa.
Samantha Power, a former US ambassador to the United Nations, says the policy 'needlessly cruel & bigoted'.
After the end of this year, unmarried same-sex partners of diplomats and United Nations employees will be expected to leave the USA within 30 days if they remain unmarried and without a visa status change.
They can conduct a same-sex marriage overseas, but face being imprisoned in some countries, travel alone, or break up with their partner.
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.
Or, as former United Nations ambassador Samantha Power put it in a tweet, the move is "needlessly cruel & bigoted". The partner must show proof of marriage by December 31 or leave the country within 30 days.
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"Requiring a marriage as proof of bona fide partnership is a bad and cruel policy, one that replicates the awful discrimination many LGBT people face in their own countries".
The new policy reverses a 2009 procedure put in place by then-Secretary of Sate Hillary Clinton that allowed same-sex partners to obtain a G-4 or spousal visa.
The new policy grants some limited exceptions for diplomats representing countries where same-sex marriage is illegal.
Currently, only 26 countries have legalized same-sex marriages, the Pew Research Center noted.
Richard V. Gowan, a senior fellow at U.N. University, told CBS News he hopes the City of NY "will facilitate the marriages of any USA employees or diplomats who want to avoid these penalties".
The justification for this move is that gay marriage is now legal in the US, so it's only fair that gay and straight couples play by the same rules.
'Requiring a marriage as proof of bona fide partnership is a bad and cruel policy, one that replicates the awful discrimination many LGBT people face in their own countries, ' she wrote in a statement. The domestic partner still could get a visa as a family member if the diplomat represents a country where same-sex marriage is illegal, so long as that country recognizes same-sex spouses of USA diplomats posted there.
But this line ignores the reality in most countries, where gay marriage is not legal.