HRC Blog

Secretary of State John Kerry Announces Visa Changes for Legally Married Same-Sex Couples

Department of state sealWhile at the U.S. Embassy in London this morning, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the U.S. Department of State will now consider visa applications from legally married same-sex couples in the same manner as opposite-sex couples.  Step-children of married same-sex couples will also qualify as beneficiaries or for derivative status under this policy as well.
 
"If you are the spouse of a U.S. citizen, your visa application will be treated equally. If you are the spouse of a non-citizen, your visa application will be treated equally," said Kerry. "If you are in a country that doesn't recognize your same-sex marriage, then your visa application will still be treated equally at every single one of our 222 visa processing centers around the world."
 
The State Department has been a leader in protecting LGBT families and individuals and providing equal access to benefits since the beginning of the Obama administration. In June 2009, the Department extended numerous benefits to the partners of Foreign Service officers, including diplomatic passports, access to overseas medical and training facilities, inclusion in housing allocations, and access to emergency evacuation. 
 
In June, the U.S. Department of State applauded the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down section 3 of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act. In a statement released immediately following the ruling, Kerry committed to work swiftly with other agencies to review all relevant federal statuses and benefits.
 
The Supreme Court’s historic ruling on DOMA marks a turning point in how the United States treats the relationships of marriage same-sex couples.  However, much work remains in order to achieve full equality for all LGBT Americans.
 
Learn more about what the Supreme Court's rulings mean for you and your family. Get the facts on the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act.

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