New Visa Benefits for Same-Sex Partners of Diplomats

“The State Department sent a cable this month to personnel worldwide informing U.S. citizen employees about a new major exception: if they’re posted to the States, their foreign same-sex partners can get a special visa to live and work here legally. The program quietly went into effect Feb. 9, providing the temporary J-1 visa that commonly goes to visiting scholars or au pairs, a State Department official confirmed Tuesday. Even as they celebrate the move, some gay New Yorkers said they find the new policy unfair – State Department employees have a right that’s out of reach for ordinary citizens. ‘It’s an important step for the Obama administration to recognize our families in this regard,’ said Darlene Nipper of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. ‘All of our families should be treated fairly across the board.'”

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