India was among the 43 countries that voted in support of a Russian-drafted resolution that proposed removing benefits for same-sex partners of UN staff, but the resolution failed to pass in the General Assembly committee after 80 nations opposed it.
The Fifth Committee of the General Assembly, that deals with administrative and budgetary issues, voted against the Russian proposal here yesterday that aimed at stopping the UN from offering marital benefits to its employees with same-sex spouses.
The resolution would have had UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon withdraw his policy laying out the United Nations current rules for the personal status of staff members for determining their benefits and entitlements.
The policy made by Ban last summer had recognised same-sex marriages of all UN staffers, allowing them to receive UN benefits.
India, along with China, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE voted in favour of the draft resolution, which had 37 abstentions.
Same-sex relations are a criminal offense in India.
Ban has been a strong proponent of equal rights for the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community and had said that he is proud to stand for greater equality for all staff.
In introducing the policy last year, the UN chief had called on all members of the UN family to unite in rejecting homophobia.
Previously, a staff member’s marital status was determined by the laws applicable in his or her country of nationality.
Under the new UN policy on the personal status of same-sex couples, which became effective on June 26 last year, the world body recognised all same-sex couples married in a country where it is legal, regardless of their nationality.
About 40,000 UN staff across the world came under the purview of the policy.
Ban’s deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters that the Secretary General “does appreciate the support of those who recognized his authority as Chief Administrative Officer as per the UN Charter.”