The federal government has changed its policies for same-sex couples when it comes to visas, according to a statement made Friday by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
“I’m very pleased to be able to announce that effective immediately, when same-sex spouses apply for a visa, the Department of State will consider that application in the same manner that it will consider the application of opposite-sex spouses,” Kerry announced at the U.S. Embassy in London. “And here is exactly what this rule means: 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. And 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 move stems from President Obama’s request that all federal agencies review their policies following the U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down parts of the Defense of Marriage Act. The new visa policies will go into effect for same-sex couples who immigrate from jurisdictions in which same-sex marriage is legal. The couples will be able to immigrate to U.S. states that do not recognize same-sex marriage since visas are provided by the U.S. government.