Secretary of State John Kerry announced Friday that the United States will begin processing visa applications from same-sex spouses in the same preferential manner as applications from opposite-sex spouses, effective immediately.
Kerry announced the news from the U.S. Embassy in London, saying, "If you’re the spouse of a U.S. citizen, your visa application will be treated equally. If you’re the spouse of a non-citizen, your visa application will be treated equally."
“As long as a marriage has been performed in a jurisdiction that recognizes it, so that it is legal, then that marriage is valid under U.S. immigration laws, and every married couple will be treated exactly the same," he continued.
More on the change from the Washington Post:
Previously, all applications from adults seeking to enter the United States were considered individually unless the adults were an opposite-sex married couple. That was not the case for U.S. citizens who married their foreign partners in states or countries where same-sex marriage is legal and then sought to bring their spouses to the United States to work or live.
Married same-sex couples from the 15 countries with national laws in force legalizing same-sex marriage will be evaluated for visas together, as will same-sex applicants from states in Mexico that have legalized same-sex marriage. Mexico, like the United States, has legalized same-sex marriage only in some states.
The change also applies to couples applying in countries that do not legally recognize gay unions, Kerry explained: "If you are in a country that doesn't recognize your same-sex marriage, then your visa application will still be treated equally at every single one of our 222 visa processing centers around the world.