The US has announced it will deny diplomatic visas to same-sex partners of foreign diplomats and United Nations employees.
The change went into effect on Monday, giving partners currently in the US until 31 December to leave, get married or otherwise change their visa.
It is a reversal of rules introduced in 2009.
Currently, 25 countries have recognised same-sex marriage. Homosexuality remains illegal in 71 countries.
The new Trump administration policy update was circulated in a United Nations (UN) memo.
The memo states: “As of 1 October 2018, same-sex domestic partners accompanying or seeking to join newly arrived United Nations officials must provide proof of marriage to be eligible for a G-4 visa or to seek a change into such status.”
G-4 visas are granted to employees of international organisations and their immediate families.
According to the State Department, “only a relationship legally considered to be a marriage in the jurisdiction where it took place establishes eligibility as a spouse for immigration purposes”.
In a 12 July note to the UN, the US Mission to the UN lauded the change as a step towards equality, saying “same-sex spouses of US diplomats now enjoy the same rights and benefits as opposite-sex spouses”, US media report.
But critics have called the move unfair to homosexual partners, given a large number of countries do not recognise same-sex marriage.
Former US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power decried the policy, calling it “needlessly cruel and bigoted”.
Needlessly cruel & bigoted: State Dept. will no longer let same-sex domestic partners of UN employees get visas unless they are married. But only 12% of UN member states allow same-sex marriage.
Breaking: From a UN source this AM: a message from the staff union announcing that the us mission will no longer give g4 visas to same sex unmarried couples. Possible backlash?
“Couples already inside of the United States could go to city hall and get married. But they could potentially be exposed to prosecution if they return to a country that criminalises homosexuality or same-sex marriages.”
After the end of this year, unmarried same-sex partners of diplomats and UN employees will be expected to leave the US within 30 days if they remain unmarried and without a visa status change.
“The US government should recognise, as it had for almost nine years until today, that requiring a marriage as proof of bona fide partnership is a bad and cruel policy, one that replicates the terrible discrimination many LGBT people face in their own countries, and should be immediately reversed.”
There are currently 71 countries that criminalise same-sex relations, according to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA).
Several others have some form of legal restriction, and same-sex relationships can carry the death penalty in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, and Nigeria.
Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode has reacted to the burning of popular Yoruba activist, Sunday Igboho’s house by unknown people.
He took to his Twitter page this morning and wrote :
Burning Igboho’s house at 3.00 a.m. only proves that you are nothing but cowards & that you are running scared. I pray you do not get what you are looking for. War, conflict, bloodshed & carnage are best avoided. Let your madness stop here before it is too late.
A tanker explosion has occurred at Toyota bus-stop inwards Mile 2, along Oshodi-Apapa expressway.
The tanker was fully loaded with fuel at the time it exploded.
Fire service arrived at the scene to put out the fire.
The Federal Fire Service giving an update on Twitter moments later, the Federal Fire Service said, “Update: The tanker fire situation at Toyota Bus stop, along Oshodi Apapa Expressway, Lagos State has been brought under control.”
The Lagos State Government has ordered the closure of public and private schools in the state indefinitely.
This was announced in a press statement by the state’s Head of Public Affairs, Ministry of Education, Kayode Abayomi, on Monday.
The statement was titled, ‘Lagos directs students to stay at home’.
It quoted the Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo, as saying that the schools were shut down over “tension generated by the #EndSARS protests.”
The statement read in part, “The Lagos State Government has directed all pupils/students in public and private schools to stay at home following the tension generated by the anti-SARS protests.
“A new date of resumption for all classes will be announced as soon as possible.”
Adefisayo added that “the safety of the pupils/students, parents and all staff working in schools is paramount at this critical period”.
She however advised parents to “keep an eye on their wards and not allow them to be used as willing tools in the hands of those who might want to hijack the protests to unleash mayhem on the society”.
The Commissioner also encouraged schools to “utilize other means of distance teaching and learning i.e radio, television and online media as they have been doing during and post the recent COVID-19 lockdown”.