The UN just blocked an attempt to drop benefits for its gay staff

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The United Nations today blocked a Russian-sponsored resolution which would have done away with benefits soon to be given to its gay staff.

The UN announced last July that it would globally extend its employee benefits to workers in same-sex marriages or other unions– irrespective of whether they are recognised locally.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s plans to offer the benefits to gay married staff will now go ahead, as the resolution which would have blocked them was voted down by the budget committee.

During the vote which took place today, 43 countries supported the motion with 80 voting against it, and 37 abstaining.

Until now, family benefits for UN staff members were dependent on their country of origin, but the new plans will allow benefits to any couple who are legally married, even if they come from a country or area where same-sex marriage isn’t yet legal.

The move – which is set to benefit the UN’s 44,000 staff across the globe – faced eleventh-hour opposition from Russian diplomats, who threatened to force a vote in the budget committee that could have led to a humiliating defeat for the UN leadership.