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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.

The other side: Critics have argued that because only 12% of UN member states allow same-sex marriage, the new policy will not actually promote equality. The State Department has said "limited exceptions" would be made for diplomats who come from countries where gay marriage is illegal, but did not say exceptions would be applied to UN officials, per ThinkProgress.

Go deeper

4 hours ago - World

Biden seeks to reboot U.S. sanctions policy

Sanctions increased under Obama and dramatically under Trump. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Biden administration is rethinking the U.S. approach to sanctions after four years of Donald Trump imposing and escalating them.

The big picture: Sanctions are among the most powerful tools the U.S. has to influence its adversaries’ behavior without using force. But they frequently fail to bring down regimes or moderate their behavior, and they can increase the suffering of civilians and resentment of the U.S.

4 hours ago - World

Merkel's farewell spoiled by Poland crisis at EU summit

One last awkward EU "family photo." Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Angela Merkel took up her vaunted mantle as Europe's crisis manager for what could be the last time tonight, as she urged the EU to find compromise in its showdown with Poland.

Why it matters: The European Commission has threatened to withhold over $40 billion in pandemic recovery funds after Poland's constitutional tribunal — stacked with loyalists from the ruling right-wing populist party — rejected the principle that EU law has primacy over national law.

Republicans who put it all on the line

Rep. Nancy Mace speaks with reporters after voting to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A small contingent of House Republicans risked their political futures on Thursday, they say, in the name of constitutional responsibility.

Why it matters: The nine Republicans who voted to hold former Trump aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress are now in peril of becoming political pariahs. They've opened themselves up to potential primary challengers and public attacks from their party's kingmaker — former President Trump.