Tel Aviv US embassy issues first visas for married gay couples

Ambassador Shapiro says "gay rights are human rights, and our new visa regulations are an important step forward."

August 8, 2013 20:22
1 minute read.
Israeli passport [illustrative photo]

Israeli passport 370. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The US Embassy in Tel Aviv on Thursday issued derivative visas to gay couples for the first time.

A derivative visa is where one applicant – such as a spouse or child of an exchange student – receives a visa through another applicant.

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A statement put out by the embassy said that the recent landmark US Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act made the issuing of the visas possible to the spouses of two Israelis relocating to the US on work visas. The new rules make married same sex partners eligible for federal US benefits.

Ambassador Dan Shapiro and Consul-General Lawrence Mire presented the approved visas at the embassy’s visa section in Tel Aviv to Sergey Shepshelevich and Alexander Polyakov, as well as to Elad ben-Yosef and Idan Frumin.

“We are delighted that the Tel Aviv Embassy 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.”

Gay marriages performed in Israel are not accepted as legally binding in the country, but a 2006 High Court of Justice ruling mandated that same-sex marriages performed abroad must be registered by the Border Crossing, Population and Immigration Administration.

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