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Russia fails to block partner benefits for gay UN staff

Russia fails to block partner benefits for gay UN staff

Russia has failed in its bid to block partner benefits for all gay UN staff.

The UN Budget Committee on Tuesday (24 March) voted against Russia’s proposal by the by 80 to 43.

EU member countries and the US lobbied hard against the resolution while Saudi Arabia, China, Iran, India, Egypt, Pakistan, and Syria voted in favor.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in July that the UN would recognize the marriages of all gay staff and extend benefits to their partners.

Previously, the spouses of gay staff were only recognized if same-sex marriage was legal in their country of nationality.

‘We must speak plainly about what Russia tried to do today: diminish the authority of the UN secretary-general and export to the UN its domestic hostility to LGBT rights,’ the US ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, said in a statement after the vote.

Deputy Russian UN Ambassador Petr Iliichev denied Russia was trying to undermine Ban’s authority.

He said the UN should return to how the issue was previously regulated, citing it as ‘an example of how the United Nations respects cultural differences, the sovereign right of each and every state to determine its norms.’