Department of State

U.S. begins denying diplomatic visas to unmarried same-sex partners

LGBT flag in Brazil
Gay Pride parade at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo: Mauro Pimental/AFP via Getty Images

Beginning Oct. 1, same-sex partners of foreign government officials and members of international organizations will not be eligible for diplomatic visas unless the couple is legally married, according to the State Department.

The big picture: The Obama administration directed the State Department to begin issuing visas to same-sex domestic partners of foreign service officers in 2009. The reversal by the Trump administration is meant to reflect the Supreme Court's 2015 decision to recognize gay marriage and ensure that same-sex and opposite-sex couples — who must be married in order to enjoy spousal benefits — are treated equally.

Expert Voices

Congressional moves to deter election meddling could misfire

Senate Intelligence Committee members Marco Rubio, Susan Collins and others preside over a hearing.
Marco Rubio, Susan Collins and other Senate Intelligence Committee members during an election security hearing on March 21. Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

With the midterm elections less than six weeks away, policymakers are ramping up their focus on election meddling. Earlier this year, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) introduced the Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines (DETER) Act to deal with foreign interference. The bill is currently pending in the Senate Banking Committee and could get considered before the midterms.

Why it matters: The DETER Act requires the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to determine within one month of a federal election whether any foreign government has interfered. If the DNI were to make such a finding about Russia, the Treasury Department would be required within 10 days to impose a set of severe sanctions on specific individuals and businesses that could not be removed for two presidential election cycles.