Proposal to rescind extension of UN benefits to all samesex couples rejected
The United Nations budget committee on Tuesday rejected a draft decision that would have had Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon withdraw a bulletin, issued last year, which established rules for the personal status of staff members in determining their benefits and entitlements. Eighty delegations voted against the draft decision, which revolved around such principles as the Secretary-General’s prerogatives in organizational matters, equality of UN employees, national sovereignty, and transparency. The text received 43 votes in favour, while 37 delegations abstained. In 2014 the UN changed how it categorizes staff members’ personal status, allowing more same-sex couples access to the same benefits enjoyed by their heterosexual counterparts.In a major policy change that took effect in June, the UN decided to honour the marriage of any same-sex couple wed in a country where same-sex marriages are legal. Previously, a staff member’s personal status was determined by the laws of the country whose passport he or she carried.Mr. Ban did not consult UN Member States about the policy change.Following today’s vote, UN spokesperson Farhan Haq told reporters that the Secretary-General appreciated the support of those who recognized his authority as Chief Administrative Officer as per the UN Charter. “I’d like to repeat in issuing his bulletin last year, the Secretary-General was acting under that authority in managing UN staff members,” said Mr. Haq.