October 16, 2018
The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the business voice of the LGBT community in the United States, released the following statement following the State Department’s announcement of restrictions on visas for LGBTI diplomats and their families. Statement to be attributed to NGLCC Co-Founders Justin Nelson (President) & Chance Mitchell (CEO):
NGLCC, NGLCC Global, and our partners who stand in solidarity with us in creating a more inclusive, respectful globalized economy denounce this move by the Trump Administration to restrict visas to same-sex partners and families of LGBTI staff at the United Nations, World Bank, and other international NGOs. We agree with the statement of the former UN Ambassador, Samantha Power, who called this move, “needlessly cruel & bigoted.”
It is unconscionable that we would tell our LGBTI representatives that they must “get married, or get out,” reversing a nearly decade-old policy that allowed employees in same-sex relationships to obtain spousal visas without marriage certificates – the “Domestic Partnership”. This policy will inevitably force a depletion of essential human capital as LGBTI diplomats representing our economic and social interests may have to return home to nations where being LGBTI is not only illegal, put potentially punishable. Inversely, this restriction might also compel same-sex partners into an overt marriage, so as to retain a visa, which can increase their vulnerability to the stigma, legal discrimination, or violence when visiting other countries.
NGLCC Global, the international division of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), works in close partnership with LGBTI staff at potentially affected NGOs like the United Nations, the Organization of American States, and more, on long-term projects to generate the data and economic development programs that are essential to ensuring our communities receive inclusion in every social, political, and economic opportunity around the globe.
LGBTI citizens are job creators and industry innovators who thrive when they have strong champions in positions of power, which this policy will undoubtedly harm. An LGBTI-inclusive global economy is the future, and we demand our diplomats and staff be allowed to serve openly, and without these arbitrary marriage mandates that are clearly an attack on the social progress made for our global community under previous administrations.
Around the globe, especially in the more than 70 nations where simply being an out LGBTI person can be a crime, our successes in America (and in the 14 countries that NGLCC works in) are creating hope and opportunity. They see that when our communities assert their economic and political strength, we can move the needle toward inclusion and rights at impressive speeds. But to do it we must be visible, we must be counted, and we must be free to express ourselves fully in our work. This absolutely includes our diplomats and global affairs staffers who advocate for our communities on the world stage.
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The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) is the business voice of the LGBT community and is the largest global not-for-profit advocacy organization specifically dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancements for LGBT people. NGLCC is the exclusive certification body for LGBT-owned businesses. www.nglcc.org @nglcc
ABOUT NGLCC GLOBAL:
NGLCC Global, the international division of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, is a network of LGBTI Chambers of Commerce and Business Networks all over the world. It is devoted to promoting economic empowerment as well as inclusive economic growth for LGBTI people and LGBTI-owned businesses. As a network, it builds on the strengths of each partner and shares best practices, while also developing a more thorough understanding of the challenges that LGBTI people and business owners face. www.nglcc.org/global
NGLCC MEDIA CONTACT:
Senior Vice President