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When Will the Same-Sex Partners of Foreign Service Officers Be Denied a Visa? When Visiting a Nation That Hates Gays

A new State Department directive, sent via cable to U.S. embassies around the world instructing them to follow Obama’s June orders and ask host countries to issue visas to the same-sex partners of foreign service officers (FSOs) unless that would cause a shit fit, reads in part: “EXCEPTION TO ACTION REQUEST: Posts that are of the view that such an approach to the host government would do more harm than good by impeding the ability of same-sex partners to accompany personnel to post or otherwise cause harm to personnel or their families are asked to advise the Department (M, L, and regional A/S) by front channel cable of that conclusion, the reasoning supporting the conclusion, and recommendations for further action that may implement the President’s and the Secretary’s directives.” Of course, you might be interested to know how the State Department qualifies valid domestic partnerships?

Like so: “In order to be eligible for acceptance as a domestic partner of a member of a diplomatic or consular mission, a same-sex domestic partner must not be a member of some other household, must reside regularly in the household of the principal, and must be recognized by the sending State as a family member forming part of the household of the principal, as demonstrated by eligibility for rights and benefits from the sending State. Therefore, when notifying the Department of domestic partners of its mission members, the sending State is requested to submit appropriate documentation that it recognizes the same-sex domestic partner relationship, which could include evidence that the sending State provided the domestic partner with a diplomatic or an official passport or other documentation based on that status, or with travel or other allowances.”

Which means, if we’re reading this correctly — and we initially believed “State” referred to “country,” except this directive is for American officials only, so saying “State” to mean “U.S.” would appear redundant — unless the home state of an American FSO grants provides recognition of same-sex unions, the officer’s partner is ineligible for a visa under this directive. So like, sorry, Texans. As commenters wiser than we have pointed out, this indeed applies to the U.S. as a whole, and not individual states.

You can read the whole cable here.

By:           editor editor
On:           Jan 8, 2010
Tagged: , ,
  • 13 Comments
    • FakeName
      FakeName

      You’re not reading it correctly (SHOCK!). Individual states within the US do not send foreign service officers. The cable is outlining both the procedure for US personnel to seek accreditation for their same-sex partners and the procedure for foreign personnel to seek accreditation for theirs. The cable is stating that in order for the partner of a foreign FSO to receive benefits and privileges in the US, the foreign FSO’s country has to recognize some form of same-sex partnership. So a British or French FSO for example could receive accreditation for their same-sex partner because Britain and France recognize some form of same-sex partnership, where for example a Russian or Ugandan FSO may not receive accreditation for their same-sex partners because neither Russia nor Uganda have any legal recognition of same-sex unions.

      Jan 8, 2010 at 4:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Speedsausage
      Speedsausage

      If I read the cable correctly, it’s referring to both recognition of same-sex domestic partnerships at US consulates overseas and consulates of other countries in the US. So the “State” that they are referring to are foreign states that are sending officials to the US to staff their consulates and they may now allow those officials to bring their same-sex domestics partners.

      Jan 8, 2010 at 4:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      QUEERTY wrote, “Which means, if we’re reading this correctly — and we initially believed “State” referred to “country,” except this directive is for American officials only, so saying “State” to mean “U.S.” would appear redundant — unless the home state of an American FSO grants provides recognition of same-sex unions, the officer’s partner is ineligible for a visa under this directive. So like, sorry, Texans.”

      The article pointed to states, “These individuals have been provided a diplomatic passport by the Department and/or are listed on the travel orders or approved OF-126 (Foreign Service Residence and Dependency Report) of a sponsoring employee following submission of an affidavit declaring a domestic partner relationship pursuant to 3 FAM 1610.”

      So, it does not seem to depend on the U.S. state the FSO lives in, but rather whether an affidavit declaring a domestic partnership has been filed with the State Department.

      BTW, Diplomatic passport or not, every country has the right to refuse to allow a person from another country in for whatever reason. It’s not our decision. They are simply saying, that a U.S. embassy or consulate does not have to tell a foreign country that someone is a domestic partner when the outcome would be to deny that domestic partner entry.

      Jan 8, 2010 at 5:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Technocrat
      Technocrat

      Queerty needs to spend more time in a job with memos.

      FakeName is mostly correct, but is being a little bit over-broad. For example, while the UK and France are clear issues where they have country-wide domestic partnerships or some sort. A more nuanced case would be that of a country that does not have marriage or domestic partnership, but which has a foreign service that does recognize the relationship. (The US is one of the examples of this, I think Brazil and Argentina are two others, but don’t hold me to that).

      For example:

      Scandiperfecta has gay marriage and treats gay and straight couples the same. The US would issue a diplomatic entry visa for the partner.

      Madeupistan has a ban on gay marriage and no provision for civil unions, but its Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues diplomatic passports and treats gay couples at least almost as nicely as straight ones. In that case, the US would issue a visa for the non-employee half of the gay couple.

      Imaginaria, on the other hand, does not issue diplomatic passports, have gay marriages or civil unions, and does not provide any support (like a larger apartment) for the non-employee half of the gay couple. In that case, the the US would not issue a diplomatic entry visa to the non-employee gay half of the couple.

      Jan 8, 2010 at 5:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Digger
      Digger

      Technocrat is spot on.

      And Queerty, it is correct that with regards to American FSOs, the state you live in does not affect your domestic partner status. My wife and I are both FSOs. We live in Virginia, which does not recognize our marriage. However, we filled out the affidavit and are recognized by the Department as partners and as a “tandem couple” (meaning we are both employees and they work with us to try to assign us together).

      Jan 8, 2010 at 7:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • InExile
      InExile

      Hillary is wonderful! Notice the only good news for gays from this administration comes from the State Department?

      Jan 9, 2010 at 6:44 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • FakeName
      FakeName

      You do realize that the State Dept is merely implementing the order, right? It didn’t originate from Hilary.

      Jan 9, 2010 at 10:06 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • InExile
      InExile

      Keep telling yourself that, maybe you will believe it!

      Jan 9, 2010 at 11:24 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • FakeName
      FakeName

      Um, I don’t have to keep telling myself the truth in order to believe the truth. The memo is implementing the order issued by Obama in June. Read the entire memo.

      Jan 9, 2010 at 1:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Digger
      Digger

      You are wrong Fakename. I worked on this issue with Secretary Clinton’s transition team. GLIFAA (Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies) submitted recommendations for everything that was within her power to do without Congressional approval and she was ready by March to do it. President Obama wanted her to wait until June for a Pride rollout.

      Jan 10, 2010 at 11:43 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • FakeName
      FakeName

      Which, um, doesn’t change the fact that this is the implementation of an order issued by Obama. Clinton can formulate all of the policy statements and guidelines she likes but without presidential approval they aren’t going to happen.

      Jan 10, 2010 at 1:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dale
      Dale

      Queerty, once again making Sarah Palin’s Facebook look thorough.

      Jan 10, 2010 at 3:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • monica msteven
      monica msteven

      Once you’ve found a dating site that interests you take advantage of the free trial offers. Use this time to send as many mails to other members as you can, the more you mail out the more will come back. I have read this interesting story about find sex partner blog here :
      http://www.adultfriendclubs.com/blogs/adult-dating-site-for-find-sex-friend/ :)

      Feb 6, 2010 at 7:30 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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