State Dept. Charges ahead with Visa Policy

State Dept. Charges ahead with Visa Policy

October 02, 2018

The rainbow didn't just color the White House -- it colored Barack Obama's entire legacy. For eight years, Americans watched the 44th president's obsession with LGBT activism eclipse every other urgent issue. And the U.S. State Department was exhibit A.

No sooner had Hillary Clinton taken over as secretary than the White House ordered her to use the agency as a club to beat other nations into submission on sexual politics. Under her leadership -- and, later, Secretary John Kerry's -- the State Department worked, not to advance America's interests, but the interests of the Left's radical social agenda. Obviously, the strategy was for the State Department to force these policies on the international stage and then build pressure on the U.S. to adopt policies like it.

Secretary Kerry made that quite clear in a 2014 speech (before Obergefell) warning others that same-sex "spouses" of U.S. personnel would be treated as "married," regardless of the host country's beliefs. "Let me be clear," he lectured, "we oppose any effort by any country to deny visas for spouses of American staff. It's discriminatory, it's unacceptable, it has no place in the 21st century." Neither, apparently, did real diplomacy -- which, until President Obama's election, meant a respectful deference to other countries' values and traditions.

Fortunately, the Trump administration has real respect for other nations' beliefs -- and Secretary Mike Pompeo's agency is proving it. Yesterday, the administration announced a new policy at the State Department that would block diplomatic visas for the same-sex partners of any foreign officials and U.N. employees. As of Monday, couples will have to provide proof of marriage for their significant others to stay in the country after 2018. Right now, experts think that about 10 U.N. employees would be affected by the change.

"Same-sex spouses of U.S. diplomats now enjoy the same rights and benefits as opposite-sex spouses," the U.S. mission wrote in a July 12 note to U.N.-based delegations. "Consistent with [State] Department policy, partners accompanying members of permanent missions or seeking to join the same must generally be married in order to be eligible" for a diplomatic visa.

To most conservatives, it was powerful rebuke of Hillary Clinton's 2009 decision to bypass the law for LGBT partners. And an important one. As it stands, only 12 percent of U.N. member states allow same-sex marriage -- putting the Obama State Department well out of step with the world. Thank goodness for the Trump administration, which has proven time and time again that its focus is religious freedom and human rights for everyone -- not special rights for a select few.

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

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