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October 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Trump administration will begin denying visas to the homosexual partners of foreign diplomats who are not “married,” in a move pro-LGBT activists are decrying as harmful and homophobic.

A July 12 diplomatic note from the United States to the United Nations explains that, following State Department policy and the Supreme Court’s enshrinement of same-sex “marriage” in 2015, the U.S. will only grant non-immigrant visas to the “spouses” of foreign diplomats, rather than “unmarried” partners of either sex.

The policy, which effectively reverses a 2009 order by the Obama Administration granting visas to diplomats’ homosexual partners, took effect for new applications and renewals on October 1. Partners of current diplomats will have until December 31 to get “married,” after which those who do not will have thirty days to leave the country.  

“This is certainly not an attack. It was not meant as an attack; it is not meant to be punitive. It is a recognition and a codification of the fact that same-sex marriage is legal in the United States,” an administration official told the Wall Street Journal. The memo adds that “same-sex spouses of officials of the United Nations will be treated the same as opposite-sex spouses when applying for a G-4 visa and for other immigration purposes.”

Yet pro-homosexual activists and other left-wing observers have denounced the change. Former Obama UN ambassador Samantha Power tweeted on September 28 that the policy is “needlessly cruel & bigoted,” while Akshaya Kumar of Human Rights Watch claimed the move “replicates the terrible discrimination many LGBT people face in their own countries.”

“This is an unconscionable, needless attack on some LGBTQ diplomats from around the world, and it reflects the hostility of the Trump-Pence administration toward LGBTQ people” David Stacy of the pro-LGBT lobbying group Human Rights Campaign claimed. “It is unnecessary, mean-spirited, and unacceptable. The White House must immediately go back to a policy that is fully inclusive and takes into account the dangers faced by LGBTQ foreign diplomats, U.N. employees, and their families.”

Central to their complaints are countries that don’t recognize same-sex “marriage,” theoretically leaving some diplomats’ partners with no way to remain in America.

“According to our records, most are just from countries where same-sex marriage is legal,” an administration official responded to the WSJ. The administration expected the change to only affect approximately 105 “families,” who could qualify to retain their visas by “marrying” in the U.S.

An official added that the U.S. would also make exceptions for diplomats of countries that don’t recognize same-sex “marriage” but do allow visas to the “spouses” of homosexual American diplomats.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is a social conservative opposed to same-sex “marriage” who has played a key role in President Donald Trump’s religious liberty agenda. But pro-family advocates give the Trump administration mixed reviews on LGBT issues. Trump has opposed transgenderism in the military and stood for American sovereignty and conscience rights, but he has also declared same-sex “marriage” a “settled” issue, nominated some pro-LGBT figures to prominent positions, and continued Obama-era policies such as “gender identity’s” inclusion in federal workforce nondiscrimination criteria.