In yet another blow to the LGBTQ community, the Trump administration has started denying visas to domestic partners of foreign diplomats and United Nations employees who are in same-sex relationships.

In a move to bring international visa practices in line with current US policy, they have stated that going forward diplomatic visas will only be granted to married spouses of foreign diplomats.

They have also asserted that any diplomats based in the States who are currently in a relationship outside of wedlock will need to get married by the end of the year or face leaving the country.

However, foreign diplomats who come from a country where same-sex marriage isn’t yet legalised will face their partner being denied a visa, reports Foreign Policy.

“Same-sex spouses of US diplomats now enjoy the same rights and benefits as opposite-sex spouses,” the US mission wrote. “Consistent with [State] Department policy, partners accompanying members of permanent missions or seeking to join the same must generally be married in order to be eligible [for a diplomatic visa].”

Nick Karvounis via Unsplash

The new policy was criticised as “needlessly cruel and bigoted” by former US ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, who added that “only 12% of UN member states allow same-sex marriage.”

The Trump administration has stated that the change in policy is to ensure that all couples were treated equally.

“The Department of State will not issue a G-4 visa for same-sex domestic partners,” a note from the UN human resources chief explained to staff.

“As of 1 October 2018, same-sex domestic partners … seeking to join newly arrived UN officials must provide proof of marriage to eligible for a G-4 visa or to seek a change in such status.”

It’s been reported that at least 10 UN employees will have to get married by 31 December 2018 to have their partners’ visas extended.

Those in same-sex relationships that are at risk include Alfonso Nam, who is the president of UN Globe – a UN LGBTQ staff advocacy organisation.

Related: Trump administration is withholding information over its proposed transgender military ban

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