UN committee to vote on benefits for spouses of gay staffers

AP News
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Posted: Mar 23, 2015 7:51 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Russia has called for a vote Tuesday in the U.N. budget committee on Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's plan to give benefits to the spouses of gay U.N. staffers who are legally married — regardless of the laws on same-sex marriage in their home countries.

Currently, family benefits for U.N. staff members are determined by their country of origin.

The secretary-general has been an outspoken supporter of LGBT rights, and U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said he is making the change "within his authority as the manager of the U.N. system."

However, additional funding to pay for the new benefits must be approved by the General Assembly's budget committee.

Diplomats said they expect a close vote.

Russia strongly opposes same-sex marriage and has adopted laws restricting gay rights activities.