Sending Office: Honorable Bradley Scott Schneider
Sent By:

        Request for Cosponsor(s)


Current Signers (73): Schneider, Cicilline, Deutch, Castro, Engel, Pallone, Soto, Wasserman Schultz, Schakowsky, Takano, Sean Patrick Maloney, Tim Ryan, Napolitano, Holmes Norton, Gomez, Quigley, Higgins, Beyer, Hastings,
Sean Patrick Maloney, Jayapal, Carolyn Maloney, Velázquez, McColloum, Welch, Gutierrez, Cohen, Yarmuth, Brady, David Scott, Moulton, Meng, Adam Smith, Lewis, Meeks, Mike Thompson, Evans, Bobby Scott, Khanna, Connolly, Crist, Crowley, Pocan, Bustos, Raskin,
Nadler, Kennedy, Lowey, Scott Peters, McEachin, Himes, Cartwright, McGovern, Lowenthal, DeGette, Huffman, Yvette Clarke, Keating, Carbajal, Serrano, Heck, Lee, Panetta, Schiff, Castor, Pingree, Blumenaur, Pascrell, Ellison, Matsui, DeFazio, DeLauro, Espaillat


Dear Colleague:

As you may be aware, the Trump Administration announced in July that they would stop issuing visas to unmarried same-sex partners of foreign diplomats and officials and employees from international organizations like the UN. The policy takes effect Oct.
1 and requires that any unmarried same-sex partner of a diplomat or international organization personnel must get married before the end of the year or risk being deported.

Since 2009, the unmarried same-sex partners of diplomats have been allowed to be in the U.S. under diplomatic visas. The reason for this was that many couples came from countries that, like the U.S., did not recognize same-sex marriage. While the U.S. now
recognizes same-sex marriage, the vast majority of UN countries do not. 

This policy is deeply concerning and sends the wrong message to the world about the acceptance of LGBT individuals in the U.S. While the policy provides an exemption process for diplomats from countries that do not recognize same-sex marriage, it provides
no similar exemption for personnel from international organizations like the UN and World Bank. This Trump Administration policy contradicts American values and is a clear attack on the LGBT community.

Reps. Schneider, Cicilline, Deutch, Castro, Engel, and Pallone are sending the letter below to the State Department condemning this policy and urging it be rescinded.

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If you have any questions, please contact Tommy Brown with Rep. Schneider at



Bradley S. Schneider          David N. Cicilline         Ted Deutch

Member of Congress          Member of Congress     Member of Congress


Joaquin Castro                     Eliot L. Engel               Frank Pallone, Jr. 

Member of Congress           Member of Congress    Member of Congress


October XX, 2018


Dear Secretary Pompeo:

We are deeply concerned by the Department’s decision to halt issuance of visas to same-sex domestic partners of foreign diplomats and officials and employees from international organizations like the United Nations (UN). We strongly urge you to reconsider
your decision. This policy discriminates against gay and lesbian international civil servants, many of whom are citizens of countries that outlaw same-sex marriage.  

On October 1, 2018, the State Department formally halted issuance of new visas to same-sex domestic partners of foreign diplomats and officials and employees from international organizations. It also notified all current same-sex domestic partner visa-holders
that they have until December 31 to present a certificate of marriage if they wish to keep their visas. Failure to do so could result in deportation 30 days thereafter.

Only 26 countries—a mere 13 percent of UN member states—allow same-sex couples to marry. In reversing the State Department’s 2009 decision to provide visas to same-sex domestic partners, your department fails to acknowledge that in most of the world, same-sex
domestic partners do not enjoy the possibility of marriage—and your decision undermines the validity of these diplomats’ relationship.

The State Department justifies its decision by pointing to the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges ruling, but U.S. case law is an irrelevant standard when it comes to writing rules that only apply to foreign diplomats. While same-sex marriage has been legal
in the U.S. for more than three years, the worldwide struggle for LGBTQI rights continues and U.S. leadership on this issue is more important than ever.

While the State Department has said it will provide a burdensome “limited exception” for diplomats from countries where same-sex marriage is illegal, the Department provides no similar exception for personnel from international organizations—an inconsistent
and unnecessary exclusion.

Additionally, such a policy could create a problem for our own diplomats as well.  Because countries issue visas in a reciprocal manner, there is a potential that this policy could open up our diplomats to retaliation abroad — something that is not only
unjust but potentially puts their physical safety at risk in certain parts of the world. 

The United States must maintain its moral leadership on all human rights issues, including those affecting LGBTQI people. This policy sends the wrong message that the U.S. is not welcoming of all people. It also needlessly excludes personnel from international
organizations, and places an unnecessary burden on diplomats from countries that do not currently allow same-sex marriage. We urge the State Department to reconsider its decision.



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Selected legislative information: Civil Rights, Family Issues, Foreign Affairs, Government

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