Monday, August 05, 2013

U.S. State Dept. Announces LGBT-Inclusive Visa Policies

Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Friday that his Department will accept and process visa applications based on same-sex marriages which were legally performed in the jurisdiction in which they were performed anywhere in the world. This is a huge step forward for LGBT rights and ends one of the most cruel forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation practiced by the federal government caused by the odious Defense of Marriage Act (which is now in the dustbin of history).
"If you are the spouse of a U.S. citizen, your visa application will be treated equally. If you are the spouse of a non-citizen, your visa application will be treated equally. And if you are in a country that doesn’t recognize your same-sex marriage, then your visa application will still be treated equally at every single one of our 222 visa processing centers around the world," Kerry said during an appearance at the U.S. embassy in London.  
The announcement is the latest repercussion following the Supreme Court's June decision striking down Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, defining marriage as between a man and a woman.  
"Now, as long as a marriage has been performed in a jurisdiction that recognizes it so that it is legal, then that marriage is valid under U.S. immigration laws, and every married couple will be treated exactly the same, and that is what we believe is appropriate," Kerry added.  
According to Freedom to Marry, sixteen countries permit same-sex marriage — Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina, Denmark, France, Brazil, New Zealand, Uruguay and Britain — while certain regions of the U.S. and Mexico also allow same-sex couples the right to marry.
This is excellent news!

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