The Trump administration has begun denying visas to same-sex partners of United Nations staffers and diplomats, leaving those already in the U.S. with no choice but to get married by the end of the year or leave the country. The U.S. Mission to the U.N. sent out a statement to U.N.-based delegations announcing the move, Foreign Policy reports. Starting Oct. 1, foreign domestic partners of diplomats based in the U.S. must provide proof of marriage to the State Department by Dec. 31 or leave the country within 30 days, according to the report. Same-sex domestic partners planning to join newly arriving U.N. officials must also provide proof of marriage to be eligible for a diplomatic visa. The U.S. Mission has explained the move as a way to bring international visa practices in line with U.S. policy on same-sex marriage after the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in 2015. But critics say the policy discriminates against foreign couples who come from countries where same-sex marriage is criminalized. Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power has slammed the policy as “needlessly cruel & bigoted,” pointing out that “only 12% of U.N. member states allow same-sex marriage.” As of Monday, there were reportedly at least 10 U.N. employees in the U.S. who would need to get married by the end of the year to get their partners’ visas renewed.
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