New State Department diplomatic visa policy takes effect

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A new State Department policy that requires partners of foreign mission personnel and employees of international organizations to be married in order to qualify for a diplomatic visa took effect on Oct. 1.

A State Department letter the Washington Blade obtained last month states, “consistent with internal Department of State policy changes, partners accompanying officers and employees of international organizations or seeking to join the same must be married in order to be eligible for a derivative G-4 nonimmigrant visa or to seek a change into such status beginning October 1, 2018.” The letter also says the State Department “will only accept the accreditation of spouses of newly arrived officers and employees of international organizations, both same-sex and opposite-sex, as members of the family of the respective international organization.”

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Watermark’s Wedding Bells: Joshua Alex Cruz and Richard Mahoney Jr.

By : Aaron Drake
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“We were in New York at a rooftop bar and I remember looking at Rick and realizing that there wasn’t anyone else that I would want to be next to there or anywhere else,” Joshua Alex Cruz says about his now husband, Richard Mahoney Jr.

“I had spent 5 years living in NYC and I never had a sense of calm in the city with anyone that I had met, so for me it was a bit of revisiting a place where I had only really known without him, and feeling a sense of peace with someone in a place where I never knew any, that made me realize he was the one.”

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Orlando attorney may have found an alternative to same-sex parents having to adopt their own children

By : Jamie Hyman
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When the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics called Jennifer West to ensure she understood the fee requirement for her newborn son’s birth certificate, she was in pain and being checked out by a nurse, so she did something very natural: she handed the phone to her wife.

Well, she tried to.

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Judge awards Tennessee lawyers $2 million for marriage equality case

By : Wire Report
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal judge has awarded more than $2 million to attorneys who helped gay couples in Tennessee win a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allows same-sex marriage.

U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger ruled that the results the lawyers got in the case were “superb and far-reaching” and that they should be entitled to costs and fees. The $2.03 million awarded in legal fees and expenses was 15 percent less than what the attorneys wanted.

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UN to vote on same-sex benefits for gay staffers

By : Wire Report
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United Nations (AP) — Russia has called for a vote March 24 in the U.N. budget committee on Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s plan to give benefits to the spouses of gay U.N. staffers who are legally married — regardless of the laws on same-sex marriage in their home countries.

Currently, family benefits for U.N. staff members are determined by their country of origin.

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As a Valentine’s Day gift to Watermark, long-term couples share their stories and secrets to success

By : Krista DiTucci, Zach Caruso and Steve Blanchard
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Finding love isn’t easy. Websites, phone apps and bars provide plenty of opportunities to find “the one.” But sometimes there seems to be too many fish in the sea. And too often, the ones we do catch we end up throwing back.

But that’s not always the case. Long-term couples exist in the LGBT world and now, with 70% of America’s population living in marriage equality states, couples are able to seal their love with the government’s blessing.

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