The U.S. State Department announced a new policy earlier this month, mandating same-sex domestic partners of diplomats and U.S. representatives of international organizations (i.e. the United Nations and the World Bank) must get married to obtain a visa to stay in the United States. Additionally, children of same-sex domestic partners will also be denied visas if their parents are unmarried.
Since 2009, domestic partners of diplomatic agents were regarded as “family”, allowing them to obtain G-4 visas--also known as spousal visas--without getting married. Unlike the United States, many countries throughout the world have not legalized gay marriage and consider them punishable by criminal penalties such as imprisonment, fines, public caning, and much worse.
Out of all the U.N. member countries, only 12 percent recognize same-sex marriage. Only 30 countries around the globe have some laws recognizing homosexual marriages, according to Human Rights Watch.
The new policy states domestic partners of diplomats stationed in the U.S. must give the State Department their proof of marriage by December 31, or they will be required to leave the country within 30 days. Keep in mind, those who choose to marry may face criminal charges if they return to their home countries.
The government agency claims the updated regulations assure equal treatment between heterosexual and homosexual marriages. However, this policy could potentially either separate families or end careers if individuals choose to marry.