The White House’s recently unveiled policy denying visas to partners of United Nations staffers has been decried as “cruel” and “inhumane.” At least one constituency, however, loves the idea: hate groups.
On Tuesday, the Family Research Council put out a statement strongly supporting the decision, calling it a “powerful rebuke” of the previous administration. Under the Obama presidency in 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton extended diplomatic visas to the gay partners of U.N. officials stationed in the United States, no matter their married status.
The anti-LGBTQ organization claimed the Obama administration’s goal was to “beat other nations into submission on sexual politics.”
“The rainbow didn’t just color the White House — it colored Barack Obama’s entire legacy,” said FRC President Tony Perkins in a press release. “For eight years, Americans watched the 44th president’s obsession with LGBTQ activism eclipse every other urgent issue.”
Perkins added that Obama’s State Department “worked, not to advance America’s interests, but the interests of the Left’s radical social agenda.”
In contrast, the hate group leader argued the Trump White House’s policy of effectively deporting unwed partners unable to comply with the new regulations demonstrates “deference” and “real respect for other nations’ beliefs.”
“As it stands, only 12 percent of U.N. member states allow same-sex marriage — putting the Obama State Department well out of step with the world,” he said. “Thank goodness for the Trump administration, which has proven time and time again that its focus is religious freedom and human rights for everyone — not special rights for a select few.”
Perkins further noted that “about 10 U.N. employees [will] be affected by the change.”
Unmarried partners of U.N. staffers will have until Dec. 31 to get married or get out. If they do not do so by the end of the year, they will have 30 days to leave the country. The State Department has claimed the changes are intended to bring the policies for same-sex couples in line with the standards for heterosexuals.
But nearly every single LGBTQ advocacy group has condemned the decision as an “unconscionable, needless attack” on potentially vulnerable individuals.
“It is unnecessary, mean-spirited, and unacceptable,” claimed Human Rights Campaign Government Affairs Director David Stacy, saying it doesn’t “take into account the dangers faced by LGBTQ foreign diplomats, U.N. employees, and their families.”
As INTO previously reported, these new guidelines present serious challenges for residents of the 88 percent of U.N. member states that do not recognize same-sex unions.
If a diplomat and his partner tie the knot to avoid being separated, they could face harassment and even jail time in their home countries. Something similar happened to Russian national Pavel Stosko and his husband, Evgeny Voytsekhovskiy, after they got married in Copenhagen earlier this year. After passport agents accidentally certified their marriage, they were targeted by police.
Stosko and Voytsekhovskiy eventually fled to the Netherlands. In an interview with The Moscow Times, the couple said they avoid other Russian speakers in their new country in fear that their whereabouts will be discovered.
“We try not to talk to anybody who speaks Russian who might be able to call home and say where we are,” Stosko claimed, speaking from an undisclosed location.
He added that they will never return to Russia, not “even for a day.”
It’s not shocking that Family Research Council would support a policy that could lead to LGBTQ people being persecuted and potentially imprisoned. Perkins once described Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill as an intent “to uphold moral conduct,” before later backtracking on his support for the legislation. He now denies he ever said that.
Perkins’ associate at the Washington, D.C.-based group, Senior Researcher for Policy Studies Peter Sprigg, further claimed in a 2010 interview that “criminal sanctions against homosexual behavior” should be reinstated in the United States.
FRC has been designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “hate group” for its anti-LGBTQ advocacy but contests the label.