Russia had brought the vote at the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly, which handles administrative and budgetary affairs, to consider the question of whether UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon overstepped his authority in expanding the number of employees eligible for benefits for their same-sex spouse. The Russian draft was rejected with 43 votes in favor to 80 opposed and 37 abstentions.
Last year, Ban issued a bulletin — an official statement of policy in how the UN would conduct internal affairs — that Russia was seeking to overturn. Previously, that resource was only extended to employees who hailed from a country where that union was recognized, giving an effective veto to states who disagreed with the policy. Under the new bulletin, all same-sex couples married in a place where it was legal would have their union recognized. Russia’s draft resolution would have forced the UN to return to the former rules.
In the lead up to the vote, Western delegations were worried that it was, in the words of one diplomat, “too close to call.” The vast majority of countries speaking in the committee room urged a rejection of the Russian draft.