Russia moves to stop United Nations staff benefits for married, same-sex couples

United Nations headquarters in New York. AP

United Nations headquarters in New York.AP

United Nations headquarters in New York.

Update: United Nations rebuffs Russia resolution, approves benefits for spouses of gay staffers. Story here.

UNITED NATIONS — Russia has asked a United Nations General Assembly committee to vote on its proposal to stop the world body extending staff benefits to all married same-sex couples.

Russia wants the General Assembly Fifth Committee, which deals with the U.N. budget, to overturn a decision announced last July by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to recognize same-sex marriages among its 43,000 staff worldwide.

The decision allows married, same-sex couples to receive the same benefits as their heterosexual counterparts.

Before the change of policy, UN workers’ status was determined by the laws of their country of nationality.

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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.

Russia wants the committee to overturn Ban’s decision and has asked for a vote on Tuesday.

The fifth committee website states action would be taken on the proposal on Tuesday.

Diplomats said they expect a close vote.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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