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.