Argumentative essay: U.S. Bans Diplomatic Visas for Foreign Same-Sex Domestic Partners
According to the new policy, the Trump administration would not issue family visas to same-sex domestic partners of foreign diplomats as well as workers of international organizations working in the US. According to a memo sent to United Nations employees, it was indicated that only G-4 visas would only be issued to married same-sex partners who want to accompany newly arrived officials to the US. This new policy is under the new State Department rules requiring that foreign couples would be eligible for diplomatic family visas after presenting proof of marriage. Even though this policy has been passed into a new rule, it would affect many people and especially those coming from states where same-sex marriage is not allowed and as a result, it should be opposed.
U.S. Bans Diplomatic Visas for Foreign Same-Sex Domestic Partners
According to Wong and Schwirtz, the new policy by the Trump administration would negatively impact same-sex diplomats who are not married. In addition, it would affect employees in international organizations working in the US. Further, the new policy would affect those working for the UN, people working in the US for the World Banks, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization among other groups. This move will affect all the 193 UN member states implying that couples denied marrying from the home countries would not be eligible for diplomatic visas. During the Obama administration, these diplomatic visas have been issued to diplomats and their family members including their dependents, formally married coupled, employees in international organizations, and same-sex partners, things will not be the same again.
While some people (formally married partners) would not be affected, Meixler notes that it would a great challenge for same-sex partners. This is because as explained by Hansler and Roth, as unfortunate for same-sex partners in need of diplomat visas while coming from countries that have not legalized same-sex marriage. This is based on the fact that only very few countries from the 193 UN member states have legalized same-sex marriage. It is also a big problem that same-sex partners of workers and diplomats who already own G-family visas are required to submit marriage proof by the year end to quality for visa renewal. As explained in the memo, same-sex partners who are unable to provide the required proof of marriage would be required to leave the US within 30 days of the given deadline.
One of the major reasons as to why this policy should be opposed is the fact that it acts as a form of discriminating against marital status. While it is a right of human beings to choose whom to spend their lives with, this is not possible when they are discriminated against at the workplace. Since opposite-sex couples are given diplomat visas without being asked to provide proof of marriage, the same should happen for same-sex couples. Since deciding who one spends his life with does not negatively affect his productivity and performance at the workplace, it should not be used to make one feel discriminated against. As explained by Meixler, all employees should be treated the same and rating done on relevant aspects rather than irrelevant choices in life such as marital or religious choices.
As explained by Wong and Schwirtz, it is important to identify the right aspects that are considered when appointing people for certain positions and job jurisdictions. Normally, people are appointed to hold positions that fit their qualifications. As a result, looking at a person’s religious, racial, ethnic, or marital status is not one of them. If any government sees its people fit to hold positions of UN representatives and diplomats, it is not the responsibility of another country to see them unfit for the same positions. Hansler and Roth argue that just as people cannot be appointed to some positions based on their racial status, their marriages are personal lives that should not be considered. Since intruding into people’s personal lives is breach of human rights, this should not be allowed.
According to BBC News, the policy by Trump Administration was opposed by Gay advocates who felt that it was meant to make them feel inferior and blame them for their life choices. Since the G category of visa is issued to foreign diplomats, employees in international organization in the US, and government officials and their dependents, failing to issue them to same-sex partners is way of discriminating them. It makes them feel that they have made wrong choices in life and thus do not fit in the mainstream society. Since other people who decide to get married to partners of the opposite sex do not have conditions set before they are provided with visas, it means that there are right and wrong choices in life and making the wrong one is a crime to be punished in numerous ways.
Another major reason as to why the policy should be banned is the fact that many UN member states have not legalized same-sex marriage. This way, the marriage proof required before visas are issued or renewed cannot be availed. As noted by Taggart, after the issuing of the memo, the change affected around 105 families of employees and foreign envoys in the US with 55 of these from international organizations and the remaining from diplomatic missions and embassies. This means that even though a condition as given for these employees to be able to renew their visas, they were unable to provide it because it cannot be accessed in their home countries.
There are laws across the globe meant to protect minority against the majority. These are laws protecting the rights of African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics among other minority groups in America. In addition, there are numerous laws protecting the rights of vulnerable groups such as people with disabilities, women, and children. Wong and Schwirtz argue that just as there are laws protecting vulnerable populations, there should be laws protecting LGBT. Since the choice made LGBT’s do not harm or adversely affect the rights of others, this is a choice that should be protected. Their choices should be respected the same way religious choices are respected. People are not punished for choosing to be Muslims, Hindus, Christians or even non-believers.
Forcing diplomats unable to provide the required proof of marriage within 30 days after the issued deadline is also a great challenge for those who had already been issued with the visas. While it might be light for people who are considering applying for the visas for the first time, it will be a big blow to people who already had the visas and already in the US since they will not only have the visas revoked but also forced out of the country. This is a great shame to people who had already considered themselves diplomats and enjoying the privileges coming with the status. According to BBC News, revoking these visas and forcing people out of the US is not different from decreasing the job status of a person and lowering his salary. It is not different from a company leader who is dropped to the junior employee position and his salary slashed.
It is notable that out of the 96 countries affected by the new policy, only 25 have recognized and allowed same-sex marriage. For the remaining 71 countries, homosexuality is still illegal. Giving an order that all same-sex partners applying for diplomat visas should provide proof of marriage is considered by Taggart as a way of forcing all the remaining 71 countries to legal homosexuality. This is because it is only after same-sex partners from these countries are able to legalize their union that they would be legible for the visas. Such a policy is therefore considered intimidating since unintentionally forcing countries to legalize same-sex marriage is like colonizing them and thus deciding for them. As outlined in the memo, “only a relationship legally considered to be a marriage in the jurisdiction where it took place establishes eligibility as a spouse for immigration purposes” (BBC News). This is an indication that countries that want their same-sex partners designed as diplomats to be treated as such should legalize their marriages, which might eventually mean legalizing same-sex marriages in countries where it is still unrecognized.
It is notable that the only exception of the new policy would same-sex diplomats coming from countries that do now allow same-sex marriage but who promise they would grant the same privileges to same-sex partners from US working in those countries. This is a condition, which can be equated to forcing countries that have not legalized same-sex marriage to do so. If they have to agree that they would allow same-sex partners from the US working in their countries, it is like saying that they would agree to same-sex marriage. If such countries are allowed to accept same-sex couples from the US, they should accept the same from their country otherwise they would be treated the locals less inferior to the foreigners (Meixler). Even though the host countries not allowing same-sex marriages in their countries should not intervene in private lives of US diplomats in the country, it would be unfair if they accept their marital status but not the same from the locals.
Hansler and Roth notes that after the fight for equality started, people have been making efforts to ensure that all people enjoy the same human rights. Once it was realized that women were treated like less human beings, movements have been created to help fight for equality. This is the reason women have to be represented in all spheres of life including politics. In a similar manner, the US Mission to the UN on equality stated, “same-sex spouses of US diplomats now enjoy the same rights and benefits as opposite-sex spouses”. However, with the current policy, this move on equality has been reversed since opposite-sex spouses now enjoy more rights than same-sex US diplomats. It means that equality for all human beings cannot be achieved is some people are considered superior to others.
According to a statement issued by Taggart, the policy meant to discriminate against same-sex diplomats is bigoted and needlessly cruel. This is because even though marriage proof is a requirement in issuing diplomat visas (G category), this does not apply to every diplomat. It would be considered fair if this was allowed for all types of marriages. The fact that some diplomats would be forced to provide marriage proof while others are not is a form of inequality. As argued by Meixler, if the marriage proof was a requirement for all couples, it would be a bit fair. None would consider the move prejudicing. This is because all diplomats would perceive it as a fair requirement in that for family members and partners to be allowed to accompany the diplomats with visas, their relationship should be genuine. However, since it applies only for same-sex partners, it cannot be fair in anyway.
Taggart puts it clear, “The US government should recognize, as it had for almost nine years until today, that requiring a marriage as proof of bona fide partnership is a bad and cruel policy, one that replicates the terrible discrimination many LGBT people face in their own countries, and should be immediately reversed”. This is an implication that many LGBTs’ seek refuge in the US and other similar countries where same-sex marriage is recognized. They usually have hard times living in their countries where same-sex marriage is not legalized. They live in hiding and cannot declare anything in the open. They are not only against the law in their countries but also ridiculed by the public. They feel a bit ease when living in countries where their state is legalized. Finding it hard to live in the US only aggravates their problem.
Meixler argues that the new policy by Trump Administration is an unfortunate change of rules and thus should be banned. This is because in order to be able to renew the visas same-sex diplomat partners, they should provide proof of marriage. Since they are already in the US, they can go to any city hall and get married. This means that in order to stay in the US, the diplomats can go to any county hall for the marriage certificate because same-sex marriage is legalized in the US. However, this would be putting such diplomats at risk because they can be prosecuted once they return to their countries where same-sex marriage is not allowed. In countries where homosexuality is criminalized, their action to legalize their marriage would put them in jails.
It is therefore notable that in order to adhere to human rights, ensure equality, and stop intruding in people’s private lives, the new policy by the U.S. to ban diplomatic visas for foreign same-sex domestic partners should be stopped. The ultimatum given to diplomats already in the US is only going to make their lives harder. In addition, giving conditions that would not only intimidate individuals but also governments in countries that do not legalize same-sex marriage is a great challenge. The US is a superpower and should never use any of their privileges to intimidate developing countries. It is also advisable that all policies created should ensure equality rather than treating some people as superior. Only requirements that are fit for the positions people are appointed for should matter rather that considering other irrelevant aspects.
BBC News. US Ends Diplomatic Visas for UN Same-Sex Partners, Oct 2, 2018. Web. <https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-45722400>
Hansler, Jennifer and Richard Roth. US Halting Visas for Same-Sex Partners of Diplomats, Oct 2, 2018. Web. <https://edition.cnn.com/2018/10/02/politics/same-sex-couples-diplomatic-visas/index.html>
Meixler, Eli. Trump Administration Halts Visas for Unmarried Same-Sex Partners of Diplomats, Oct 2, 2018. Web. <http://time.com/5412318/u-s-visa-same-sex-partner-diplomats/>
Taggart, John. US Begins Denying Visas for Same-Sex Domestic Partners of Diplomats, Oct 2, 2018. Web. <https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/02/us-visas-same-sex-domestic-partners-diplomats-un-staff-denied>
Wong, Edward and Michael Schwirtz. U.S. Bans Diplomatic Visas for Foreign Same-Sex Domestic Partners. The New York Times, Oct 2, 2018. Web. <https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/02/us/politics/visa-ban-same-sex-partners-diplomats.html>