Secretary of State declares all visa applications equal


By Adam Brinklow

While updating your Gay Marriage by State Roadmap last week (everyone keeps one of those, right?) a question may have occurred: do LGBT folks get married in other countries too? Turns out the answer is yes, which for a while was a bit of a problem, since when a non-American same-sex marriage ran headlong into American immigration laws it could be a bit like trying to plug something into those weird-shaped European electrical outlets: sparks may fly.

But Secretary of State John Kerry came to the rescue on Friday with an announcement that, with DOMA no longer hanging around and being the general federal downer that it always was, the State Department is free to treat all visa applications equally. Put simply, if a same-sex couple was legally married anywhere in the world, the government will recognize that marriage while processing visa applications. Even if you happen to be immigrating to a state that doesn’t recognize your marriage, the feds will at least have your back. According to the State Department’s website, there is even a process through which someone can immigrate to the US expressly for the purposes of being legally married in a cooperative state.

Kerry made the announcement in London (where lawmakers just recently passed a national same-sex marriage law), on his way back from a trip to Islamabad (where lawmakers have very pointedly done no such thing). Britain became the fifth country in 2013 to pass sweeping marriage legislation, bringing the total number of countries eligible to muck around with the State Department’s new rules to 16.

“Today, the State Department, which has always been at the forefront of equality in the federal government, I’m proud to say, is tearing down an unjust and an unfair barrier that for too long stood in the way of same-sex families,” Kerry said, according to the official transcript released by the White House. He also managed to cite Lincoln, King, and his Senate vote against DOMA while using the word “proud” three times in an 1100 word address—which is just so John.


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