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US introduces ‘needlessly cruel and bigoted’ visa policy for same-sex partners of foreign diplomats

SAME-SEX partners of foreign diplomats and UN workers will be denied diplomatic visas under changes introduced by the US government that have been branded “needlessly cruel and bigoted.”

The Trump administration said the new rules mean “only a relationship legally considered to be a marriage in the jurisdiction where it took place establishes eligibility as a spouse for immigration purposes.”

A memo to the UN stated: “As of October 1 2018, same-sex domestic partners accompanying or seeking to join newly arrived United Nations officials must provide proof of marriage to be eligible for a G-4 visa or to seek a change into such status.”

G-4 visas are for employees of international organisations and their immediate families.

The changes reverse a 2009 decision which granted same-sex partners of foreign officials diplomatic visas. According to the State Department, some 105 families will be affected by the new policy.

Former US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said the change was “needlessly cruel and bigoted.

“The State Department will no longer let same-sex domestic partners of UN employees get visas unless they are married, but only 12 per cent of UN member states allow same-sex marriage.”

LGBT advocacy group UN-Globe warned: “Couples already in the United States could go to city hall and get married.

“But they could potentially be exposed to prosecution if they return to a country that criminalises homosexuality or same-sex marriages.”

Only 25 countries currently recognise same-sex marriage. Homosexuality  is illegal in 71 countries.

Partners currently in the US have until December 31 to leave, get married or otherwise change their visa.

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