UN likely to recognise all same-sex staffers’ marriages

The UN will now recognize all same-sex marriages of its staffers across the world as it put in place a new policy aimed at ensuring ‘greater equality’ with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calling for rejection of homophobia. Previously, a staff member’s personal status was determined by the laws applicable in their country of nationality.

Under the new UN policy on the personal status of same-sex couples, which became effective on June 26, the world body will recognise all same-sex couples married in a country where it is legal, regardless of their nationality. ‘Now, personal status will be determined instead by the law of the competent authority under which the personal status was established. As such, if a same-sex couple get married in a country where same-sex marriages are legal, the personal status of the staff member involved will be determined on that basis,’ UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters here on Monday.

Describing the new policy, the Secretary-General said that human rights are at the core of the mission of the UN. The UN chief has said he is proud to stand for greater equality for all staffers and also called on all members of the UN family to unite in rejecting homophobia, according to Haq.
The UN Deputy Spokesman described the new policy as a ‘step forward’ that many of the staff members of the United Nations had been seeking for some time.

‘So this certainly is something for which gay, lesbian and other staff members have seen as a step forward. The Secretary-General, in announcing the policy, pointed out that he is proud to stand for greater equality for all staff,’ Haq said. He said a marriage — including same-sex marriage — that is performed in a country where same-sex marriages are legal, then the status of that staff member is in accordance with the fact that their marriage was conducted in a place where same-sex marriages are legal.

Haq said Ban did not consult member states in arriving at the new policy. ‘The Secretary-General acted on his own authority as the head of the management of the United Nations; this was a managerial decision affecting UN staff,’ Haq said.
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