Washington D.C. [USA], Oct 3 : The United States has halted the issuance of G-4 visas to same-sex partners working for international organisations, according to a U.S. Department of State press release.
The change, which came into effect on Monday, will affect same-sex partnerships and not marriages, according to CNN. The news organisation further reported that same-sex partners have been given leeway till December 31 to get married or leave the country.
US officials said that approximately 105 families will be affected, out of which only 55 work with international organisations. “Very few of those individuals are from countries where same-sex marriage is illegal”, they added. The officials also said that they’ve “had dialogue since July on this change” in policy with the United Nations and foreign missions in New York.
Senior Administration Officials said that foreign diplomats in the United States have the option of getting married in the country itself till the deadline. The officials further said that the policy was being changed to level the treatment for same-sex marriages and heterosexual marriages in relation to visas.
“The change in policy ensures consistent treatment between opposite-sex partners and same-sex partners by requiring that same-sex partners, like opposite-sex partners, must marry to qualify for derivative diplomatic visas”, they added. A US official told CNN, “The change in policy reflects the State Department’s goal to ensure and promote equal treatment. October 1, 2018, also marks the end of a transition period from the Department’s previous same-sexdomestic partner policy for US foreign service personnel.
Members of the US foreign service must now be married to enjoy the rights and benefits of spouses. This is based on US law, which now recognises a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.” Trying to allay fears of human rights violations, the officers said that they “will work with individuals on a case-by-case basis to help them to try to legally adjust their status to remain in the United States after the deadline.
” Alfonso NAM, the president of the UN LGBTQI advocacy organisation UN-GLOBE, told CNN, “The reality is that the difference between being in a heterosexual couple and being in a same-sex relationship is that heterosexual couples have an incredible number of choices of where they can get married.
That is a choice that is very limited for people in same-sex relationships.” The senior officials also acknowledged that not all countries recognise samesex marriages.
“The policy recognises that not all countries have the same policy as we do, that they don’t all recognize same-sex marriage legal as we do, as long as those countries act in a reciprocal fashion towards us and our diplomats”, they said. The G-4 visa is granted to employees of international organisations and their families and is a non-immigrant U.S. visa.
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