The Trump administration reversed visa policy this week for same-sex partners of United Nations staff, saying they must marry their partners by the end of the year or leave the us within 30 days of the December 31 deadline.
The new policy, which went into effect this Monday, also requires queer partners of diplomats now in the United States to get married before the end of the year.
"The change in policy reflects the Department's goal to help ensure and promote equal treatment, consistent with the Department's policies regarding opposite-sex couples and derivative eligibility for visas in other visa categories", a State spokesperson in a statement.
According to Foreign Policy, the rule is being applied retroactively, so same-sex partners of diplomats and U.N. officials who are already in the United Sates either have to get married by the end of the year or leave the country. They also explained that the policy brings visa rules into conformity with the rights and benefits given to US government diplomats and staffers.
Alfonso Nam, president of UN-GLOBE, a group that advocates on behalf of the U.N.'s LGBTI employees, told The Washington Blade that the new rule would "have a chilling effect on all couples in the United States under a U.N. -sponsored visa who are in legal unions other than marriage".
"Same-sex spouses of USA diplomats now enjoy the same rights and benefits as opposite-sex spouses", read the announcement obtained by Foreign Policy.
Pressman, who advocated for global LGBT+ equality during his time at the United Nations, added: "If that's how you advance equality between same-sex and opposite-sex partners, then we have an enormous problem on our hands".
He explained that getting married was "something that is, in a way, more significant than entering a same-sex partnership for reasons that are not related to practical reasons, but reasons like: staying in the closet at home or facing big penalties at home for being in a same-sex relationship".
Samantha Power, a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, took to Twitter to criticize the policy, calling it "needlessly cruel and bigoted".
Only if a same-sex couple is married will the spouse be eligible for a visa, but that could prove problematic for some, as the majority of the world's countries do not recognize same-sex marriages. To further complicate matters, the vast majority of United Nations member states do not allow gay marriage. It adds that partners accompanying United Nations officials "must be married" to be eligible for derivative nonimmigrant visas for global organizations.
President Trump at the U.N.in September.
So, the administration actually banned all unmarried partners from getting visas, meaning diplomats can't just bring their girlfriends or boyfriends.
Akshaya Kumar, the Deputy UN Director of Human Rights Watch, wrote that the change "will have an insidious impact on same-sex couples".
Meanwhile, homosexual activity is still considered illegal in 72 countries, ABC News said. The group GLIFAA represents LGBT staff, many USA embassies around the world fly rainbow flags during gay pride month and senior officials speak at the annual gay pride event held in an auditorium and beamed by closed circuit around the building.
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.