New Trump Policy Denies Visas to Unmarried Same-Sex Couples Working for the UN

On Monday, the Trump administration, who promised to be an ally to the LGBTQ community during the 2106 campaign, began denying G-4 visas to foreign diplomats, officials and United Nations staff members who are in unmarried same-sex relationships. Their only option? Get married by the end of the year, or get out of the country.

This blatant discrimination against the LGBTQ community reverses a policy enacted by Hillary Clinton in 2009 when she was secretary of state that extended the option for domestic same-sex partners to obtain a spousal visa. Now, every couple must be married in order to be eligible for a visa. In a statement, a State Department official says the policy was put in place to “promote equal treatment” between straight and same-sex couples, as straight couples were not able to obtain a G-4 visa without being married. But it’s clear this change in policy will have a direct and adverse effect on same-sex couples and those in the LGBTQ community.

As Samantha Power, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., pointed out on Twitter, “Only 12 percent of U.N. member states allow same-sex marriage.” This leaves LGBTQ couples with an unthinkable decision: either marry in the United States, for those who are already in the U.S., and face potential prosecution upon returning to countries that criminalize same-sex marriage or find a new career. 

David Pressman, who worked as the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Security Council for special political affairs during the Obama administration, told NBC News, “If that’s how you advance equality between same-sex and opposite sex partners, then we have an enormous problem on our hands.”