Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley today joined his colleagues in calling on U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to amend a new State Department policy that ends diplomatic visas for unmarried, same-sex partners of foreign diplomats and employees posted to the United States or at U.S.-based international organizations—sending a blatant message of discrimination to LGBTQ people around the world.
Merkley led the letter with Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Chris Coons (D-DE).
“To bar LGBTQ diplomats from bringing their partners to the United States is to condone the discriminatory policies of many countries around the world,” the senators wrote. “This new rule discriminates against diplomats from countries where same-sex marriage is still illegal. This new policy could not only deter foreign diplomats from bringing their families to the United States, but threatens the progress made on this front.”
The United States’ 2015 Supreme Court decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, sent a signal to the world about the importance of equal rights for all. Under the Trump Administration, Merkley has pushed to ensure American policies continue to expand, not curtail, opportunities for those around the world who still face discrimination for their sexual orientation.
Merkley, Casey and Coons were joined in this effort by U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Jack Reed (D-RI), Ben Cardin (D-MD) Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Edward Markey (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Tina Smith (D-WI).
A full copy of the letter can be found here.