Anti-LGBT lobbyist Tony Perkins praises Trump administration’s new visa policy for UN staff

Tony Perkins, president of conservative lobbying group Family Research Council, has praised US president Donald Trump’s administration for saying it will stop giving visas to unmarried same-sex partners of UN employees.

The Trump administration’s new policy rolls back the work of then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton and LGBT+ rights champion UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. It also affects World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff.

In a statement published on its website on October 1, the State Department wrote: “Effective immediately, US embassies and consulates will adjudicate visa applications that are based on a same-sex marriage in the same way that we adjudicate applications for opposite gender spouses.”

US President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at Freedom Hall Civic Center in Johnson City, Tennessee on October 1, 2018. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) / ALTERNATIVE CROP (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Trump has cracked down on LGBT+ rights since being elected. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty)

This means that to acquire a G-4 visa, a nonimmigrant US visa for employees of international organisations and members of their immediate families, partners of same-sex staff will have to marry or face not being able to live with their partners.

There are currently at least 10 UN employees in the US that would be affected by the policy change, according to Foreign Policy magazine.

In a blog post published on Wednesday (October 3), Perkins congratulated Trump for his latest move.

Perkins, whose article was written with support from senior writers at the Family Research Council (FRC), said that the new policy was, to most conservatives, a “powerful rebuke of Hillary Clinton’s 2009 decision to bypass the law for LGBT partners. And an important one.”

He added: “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.

“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 is known for his strong opposition to LGBT+ rights, and has previously claimed that decriminalising homosexuality in the US was a “mistake.”

He also has links to the Trump administration—in May, he was nominated to sit on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Out of the 193 member states of the UN, just 25 countries have legalised same-sex marriage. It’s illegal to be gay in around 69 countries, and several still have the death penalty.

A State Department spokesperson told NBC News that the government’s intention was “to help ensure and promote equal treatment” between straight and same-sex couples.

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: Secretary Of State Mike Pompeo attends a media briefing during the United Nations General Assembly on September 24, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

The State Department is headed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (Stephanie Keith/Getty)

The State Department is headed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has refused to distance himself from past comments describing gay people as a “perversion” and said he stands by his “very clear view on whether it was appropriate for two same-sex persons to marry.”

The Democratic National Committee’s LGBTQ Media Director, Lucas Acosta, condemned the move, saying: “The policy of granting visas to the same-sex domestic partners of foreign diplomats helped make the US a leader for LGBTQ rights and freedoms.

“Now the Trump administration is doing everything in its power to roll back progress and make it harder for LGBTQ people to serve their countries.

“With same-sex marriage legal in only about 10 percent of UN member countries, LGBTQ diplomats could be forced to leave their posts or their partners,” he added.

“Instead of providing moral leadership on LGBTQ rights and freedoms, the Trump administration is essentially subjecting diplomats to the same discriminatory, anti-LGBTQ policies that they face in their own countries.

“The Trump administration must reverse this discriminatory action.”