More than 100 Democratic lawmakers ripped the State Department on Friday for its decision to stop issuing U.S. visas to domestic partners of LGBT foreign officials or employees of international organizations, arguing the change "sends the wrong message that the U.S. is not welcoming of all people."

The State Department first announced in July that unmarried same-sex partners would no longer receive G-4 visas, but the decision took effect earlier this week. It forces the affected couples to marry by the end of the year if they have already been admitted to enter the U.S., or be faced with departing the U.S. within 30 days.

The Obama administration first permitted same-sex partners of foreign envoys and international organization staffers to be accepted by the U.S. in 2009 when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State.

"The State Department’s 2009 decision to issue G-4 visas to same-sex domestic partners in addition to same-sex spouses reflected global discrimination against same-sex marriage," the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday. "In reversing this decision, your department fails to acknowledge that in most of the world, same-sex domestic partners do not enjoy the possibility of marriage — and your decision undermines the validity of these diplomats’ relationship."

"While same-sex marriage has been legal in the U.S. for more than three years, the worldwide struggle for LGBTQI rights continues and U.S. leadership on this issue is more important than ever," the lawmakers added.

The lawmakers asserted that the policy “send the wrong message that the U.S. is not welcoming of all people” and urged the State Department to reconsider the decision.

According to the Washington Post, the policy change would affect 105 families in the U.S.

The letter was spearheaded by Reps. Brad Schneider of Illinois, David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Ted Deutch of Florida, Joaquin Castro of Texas, Eliot Engel of New York, and Frank Pallone of New Jersey, and was signed by 119 House Democrats.

Meanwhile, the State Department said that the policy change was intended to "promote the fair and equal treatment of all families, including for our Department of State employees."

"The Department is sensitive to the concerns that have been raised, and is committed to working with affected individuals to find an appropriate resolution, as needed and consistent with our laws and regulations," a State Department official said.

"The Department of State is committed to furthering the rights of LGBTQI+ individuals across the globe, and we routinely engage with other countries and international organizations at all levels to advance this important issue," the official added.