U.S. embassy issues first visas to married same-sex Israeli couples
'Gay rights are human rights,' says U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro.
The American embassy in Tel Aviv has issued its first derivative visas to same-sex Israeli couples.
The derivative visa allows the applicant to receive a visa through a spouse or first-degree relative who is eligible for residence in the United States.
The embassy on Thursday issued the visas to the same-sex spouses of two Israelis relocating to the United States on work visas. The visas were presented by U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro and Consul General Lawrence Mire.
“We are delighted that Embassy Tel Aviv has now issued its first visas to a married same-sex couple," Shapiro said. ”Gay rights are human rights, and our new visa regulations are an important step forward.”
Same-sex marriages are not performed in Israel, but marriages performed abroad are recognized.
Last week, the U.S. State Department began processing visa applications from same-sex spouses in the same way that it handles those from heterosexual spouses.
Kerry said that if someone is the spouse of a U.S. citizen, or is the spouse of a non-citizen, their visa applications now will be treated equally. And if a person is in a country that doesn't recognize same-sex marriage, their visa application will still be treated equally at all 222 visa processing centers around the world.
"Effective immediately, when same-sex spouses apply for a visa, the Department of State will consider that application in the same manner that it considers the application of opposite-sex spouses," Kerry said.
"As long as a marriage has been performed in a jurisdiction that recognizes it, so that it is legal, then that marriage is valid under U.S. immigration laws and every married couple will be treated exactly the same," he said.