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About 12 percent of the 193 United Nations member states allow same-sex marriage, according to Samantha Power, a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations who served under former president Barack Obama.

The U.N. Globe addressed this in a statement, noting that the State Department was "enforcing parity in the way they recognize opposite-sex partnerships and same-sex partnerships". "It is an unfortunate change in rules, since same-sex couples, unlike opposite-sex couples, have limited choices when it comes to marriage".

"So it's especially difficult to understand why a country like United States would take a backwards step on this and make life even harder on same-sex couples for no apparent reason".

The policy change was announced in July, when the State Department said it would only "accept the accreditation of spouses, both same-sex and opposite-sex", beginning on October 1.

Effective Oct. 1, "U.S. 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", the State Department said on its website.

The United States informed foreign governments that they would allow "limited exceptions" to its new policy in cases involving diplomats from countries where same-sex marriage is illegal.

"Same-sex spouses of US diplomats now enjoy the same rights and benefits as opposite-sex spouses", the note said.

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President Donald Trump's administration will stop giving visas to unmarried same-sex partners of United Nations employees, in a move which could endanger lives.

But it also rolls back a practice championed by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to extend benefits to same-sex domestic partners of diplomats or worldwide staff posted in the USA, even if they were not legally married.

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".

Foreign Policy noted there are at least 10 employees within the United Nations who will have to Wednesday before the New Year in order to secure visa extensions for their partners.

"Requiring a marriage as proof of bona fide partnership is a bad and cruel policy, one that replicates the awful discrimination many LGBT people face in their own countries", she said.

The new policy is meant to "ensure and promote equal treatment" because heterosexual couples are already required to get married to receive visas, a State Department spokesperson said.

It was detailed in a memo circulated to employees at the United Nations' headquarters in NY last month.