"State Dept will no longer let same-sex domestic partners of United Nations employees get visas unless they are married".
Heterosexual domestic partners of foreign diplomats are also not eligible for US visas, a State Department spokesperson explained, and the new policy would "ensure and promote equal treatment", according to ABC News.
The State Department will now "only be able to accept the accreditation and registration of spouses of newly arrived officials, both same-sex and opposite-sex, as members of the family of United Nations officials as of October 1, 2018", the memo states.
"The Department of State will not issue a G-4 visa for same-sex domestic partners", a State Department memo reads.
"So it's especially difficult to understand why a country like United States would take a backwards step on this and make life even harder on same-sex couples for no apparent reason".
Former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power slammed the decision on Twitter, calling it "needlessly cruel & bigoted", and pointing out that the deadline to marry or leave is fast approaching. Foreign same-sex partners who wish to remain in the US are advised to submit proof of marriage to the State Department by December 31, 2018, or expect to leave the USA within 30 days of that deadline.
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She noted that only 12 percent of United Nations member states allowed same-sex marriages.
"But the Trump administration has cynically used the expansion of equality in the U.S.to target unmarried United Nations same-sex couples", Schlesinger said.
Individuals will be eligible for "limited exceptions" if they can prove they are from countries that outlaw same-sex partners, said Stephen Schlesinger, a fellow at the Century Foundation, a think tank.
Now only 25 countries recognize same sex marriage, while in more than 70 other countries it is punishable under the law, according to the Human Rights Watch. "It is a recognition and a codification of the fact that same-sex marriage is legal in the United States", the official told reporters on condition of anonymity. And unmarried partners who aren't yet in the United States will not be eligible for visas to move there.
But the policy could pose a major problem for some diplomats and employees because in many countries, same-sex marriage still isn't allowed, with less than 15 percent of countries in the world recognizing it as legal.