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April 3, 2015

Russia loses UN fight to screw same-sex couples

New York City--Last July, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon announced that United Nations employees in same-sex marriages that were legally performed would have full spousal benefits.

Russia, not content to abuse its own LGBT population with draconian anti-gay “propaganda” laws, decided to push for a repeal of the policy, putting through a vote in the General Assembly Fifth Committee, which handles budget matters for the body.

Russia’s plan went down in failure on March 24 on a 80 to 43 vote, with 70 countries either abstaining or not voting.

U.S. ambassador Samantha Power, who represents the country in the United Nations, accused Russia of trying to weaken the power of the office of the Secretary-General and “export to the UN its domestic hostility to LGBT rights.”

“It sets a dangerous precedent in challenging the Secretary-General’s authority to make administrative decisions. It polarizes a committee dedicated to working toward consensus. And it risks completely unnecessary and inappropriate member state micromanagement of UN administrative decisions,” she continued in a statement.

Russia’s deputy UN ambassador accused Ban Ki-Moon of failing to respect cultural differences and state sovereignty.

The Washington Post’s Eric Voeten put forward a theory as to why Russia pushed for the vote, as well as a statistical analysis of why it failed. Using two axes, Voeten plotted public acceptance of homosexuality in 89 countries against pro- or anti-gay United Nations votes. Looking at outliers, countries that voted against the resolution despite not being very accepting of homosexuality or voting for it despite not being condemning, indicates to Voeten what he believes is the reasoning behind the push for the vote.

He believes that the resolution was an attempt at ally-gathering by Russia, trying to draw in countries who might feel uncomfortable with the United States’ pressure to provide equal rights for LGBT people.

“A plausible explanation is that Russia is trying to reach out to potential allies who feel threatened by U.S. criticisms of their LGBT rights policies,” he wrote. “Russian President Vladimir Putting and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni have already bonded over the issue. China has long assured its trading partners and allies that it will not interfere with its domestic human rights policies.”

“Russia seems to want to go a step beyond this by challenging more liberal ideas about human rights embedded in international institutions and perhaps positioning itself as a leader on this front,” he noted. “This is presumably also one of the reasons the United States wanted to make sure that the initiative was defeated with a wide margin.”

A few of the nations on the graph have lower acceptance of homosexuality but likely wish to remain in the United States’ good graces, like the Philippines, Singapore and Ethiopia, backing up Voeten’s assessment.











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