Russia prevented the U.N. Security Council from making a statement Wednesday thanking Secretary General Ban Ki-moon specifically for his work promoting gay rights while he served at the U.N. over the last decade.
The council wanted to honor Ban with the statement, Reuters reported, since he will be stepping down from the U.N. later this month. Gay rights is a source of heated debate at the UN, where many member countries have laws against being gay.
According to Reuter, some members wanted the statement to read: “It is thanks to you, Mr. Secretary General, that women, young people, and the LGBT community have been heard and assisted, and today their voices sound louder and stronger in this headquarters and around the world.”
Instead, Russia would only agree to a statement that because of Ban’s work, “the most vulnerable or marginalized have been increasingly heard and assisted by the United Nations.”
Ban made rules in 2014 that recognized all same-sex marriages of U.N. staff, which allowed spouses to receive benefits. Forty-four U.N. states including Saudi Arabia, China, Iran, India, Egypt, and others tried to undo the move last year but were unsuccessful.
Countries like Russia, China, and African, Arab and Muslim, states have opposed Ban’s efforts. It is illegal to be gay in at least 73 countries.
In February, nearly 80 members of the U.N. organized into several groups protested six new U.N. stamps created to promote LGBT equality, Reuters noted. The groups were the 54-member African Group, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the 25-member Group of Friends of the Family.
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