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US diplomats facing career restrictions for being in same-sex relationships

Naith Payton April 17, 2015

LGBT diplomats are struggling to be placed in countries that don’t recognise same-sex relationships.

In interviews with Buzzfeed News, several US diplomats have said they’ve been turned down for positions they are would otherwise have had if it weren’t for their relationships.

Despite the US Department of State granting benefits to diplomat’s same-sex partners from 2009, such couples are still facing trouble accessing them.

One unnamed diplomat says he was turned down from positions he’d previously been told he was eligible for, due to his specific language skills, and was told: “There aren’t a lot of places that will accredit your same-sex partner, so if you choose to continue in this relationship it will adversely affect your career.”

Matt Cuenca-Daigle, whose diplomat husband was eventually forced to back out of a placement in China due to lack of a guarantee that Mr Cuenca-Daigle would be able to join him, said: “This is really shocking that they couldn’t do anything.

“I would have thought the embassies around the world would reflect the best of what America has to offer. To condone any form of discrimination is a disappointment.”

President of the US State Departments’s group representing LGBT employees, Selim Ariturk, said: “I wish I could say there was progress, but the fact is, more and more countries are saying no to our families, and each year we find ourselves with fewer career options.

“If we don’t stand up for our own LGBT families, all the homophobic countries will pick up on that signal — and they have.

“If we’re going to stand up for LGBT rights around the world, we need to stand up for our own American diplomats and their families.”

The US has appointed many openly gay ambassadors under the Obama administration, including to Vietnam.

France is currently embroiled in a dispute with Vatican City over the appointment of a gay ambassador. 

 

 

More: ambassador, ambassadors, diplomacy, diplomats, US, US ambassadors, US department of state, us diplomats

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