Russian proposal defeated today in the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly
The proposal from the Russia Federation to deny benefits to legal same-sex couples at the UN was not adopted today during a vote in the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly, with 80 countries voting against the proposal, 43 voting for it, and 37 countries abstaining.
UN-GLOBE, the staff group representing LGBTI staff in the UN system, has been fighting the proposal from Russia since it first surfaced back in December, and considers this vote a huge victory for equality and non-discrimination at the UN.
With this vote, a majority of countries present also sent a strong message of support to the Secretary-General, and his prerogative to issue administrative instructions as Chief Administrative Officer of the UN.
The Secretary-General’s policy, whose withdrawal was sought by Russia, grants equal benefits to all staff members in legal unions, including those in same-sex unions.
The previous policy, while automatically granting partnership benefits to staff members in opposite-sex unions, only granted partnership benefits to staff members in same-sex unions if their embassies gave consent, creating discriminatory practices.
Staff members legally married to same-sex partners who could not obtain consent from their embassies were considered to be single by their UN organizations.
Following this vote, UN-GLOBE will continue its fight to ensure that there is full equality and inclusiveness for LGBTI staff in the UN system, which does not currently exist.
UN-GLOBE will also continue to ensure that no staff member is discriminated against, or targeted because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity.
UN-GLOBE is thankful to allies who worked to make the outcome of this vote possible, including countries friendly to LGBTI rights; LGBT human rights organizations such as IGLHRC and COC; staff federations of the UN; and the Secretary-General’s office.
Hyung Hak Nam (Alfonso)