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Secretary of State John Kerry will announce today that U.S. consulates worldwide will extend the same visa privileges to same-sex spouses as to other married couples.

The decision applies to legally recognized spouses of U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens, and takes immediate effect. The change in procedure resulted from an Obama administration review of U.S. government agencies’ rules that discriminated against same-sex couples and might be invalidated by the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, a State Department official who asked not to be identified in advance of the announcement told reporters traveling with Kerry.

Same-sex couples who may take advantage of spousal visas to visit or work in the U.S. must have a legally recognized marriage; unmarried same-sex partners will not be eligible.

Kerry will visit the U.S. consulate in London, one of 222 U.S. visa centers worldwide, to highlight the start of the new procedures.

Editors: Leslie Hoffecker and Larry Liebert.

To contact the reporter on this story: Indira A.R. Lakshmanan in Washington at To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Walcott at

Tags: usa, visas