Secretary of State John Kerry says that the State Department will begin treating gay married couples’ visas the same as opposite sex married couples’ visas. This new policy will be put in place right away, Kerry says.
Now couples married legally in their own country will have their marriage recognized in the US. Before, this only applied to heterosexual married couples seeking visas in the US.
The announcement was made Friday by Secretary of State John Kerry from the US Embassy in London, reports CBS News. He is currently visiting Britain after a diplomatic trip to Pakistan. In his statement, Kerry says the change reflects Americans’ belief in equality. He says it removes an unfair boundary to immigrants entering the US.
Countries that allow gay marriage include Britain, France, Norway, and 13 others. The new policy changes announced by Kerry mean their marriages will be recognized in their US visa status.
CNN says that an anonymous State Department official claims that as many as 100 visa applications will be affected. The officials says that more same sex spouses will likely apply after the policy change.
In June the US Supreme Court narrowly voted to cancel a part of the Defense of Marriage Act. This now allows legally married same sex couples to enjoy federal benefits like joint tax returns and Social Security. The Supreme Court also turned down an option to reinstate Prop 8, a California law banning gay marriage.
Since these changes, President Obama has ordered all agencies to examine their policies and make needed changes.
Secretary of State John Kerry says same sex spouses married legally will be recognized by US visa applications and the State Department.