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In a victory for international LGBT equality, Russia has been defeated in its bid to reverse UN rules that give married gay and lesbian staff members equal benefits.
The policy was announced by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in July last year. It grants spousal partner benefits to gay and lesbian staff who’ve legally married or entered into a civil union, regardless of their country of origin.
Russia objected to the policy, insisting that countries that do not recognise same-sex relationships should not be forced to give the benefits to UN staff members who originate from these countries.
On Tuesday, it demanded a vote on the issue in the UN General Assembly budget committee, with a proposal to force Ban to withdraw the policy.
The meeting saw 43 nations voting in favour of Russia’s proposal and 80 against, with 37 abstentions.
Speaking before the vote, Russia’s Petr Iliichev argued that the policy discriminated against a number of member states, as it did not consider their legislative and judicial systems. “The cultural settings of all member states must be reflected,” he said.
Yukio Takasu, UN Under-Secretary-General for Management, said, however, that the Secretary-General had the responsibility and authority to see that the organisation’s values were maintained at all times.
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