The United Nations passed a resolution today condemning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, marking the first time the organization has explicitly recognized that form of repression.
The resolution was a polarizing one, drawing praise from some members and condemnations from others after it narrowly passed by a vote of 23 to 19. America's domestic progress on gay rights helped to swing the pendulum, according to the Associated Press. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called it a historic moment to highlight the human rights abuses and violations that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people face around the world based solely on who they are and whom they love, while a representative from Mauritania called it an attempt to replace the natural rights of a human being with an unnatural right.
The European Union and some Latin American countries joined the U.S., while a bloc including Russia, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Pakistan voted against the resolution.
The language of the resolution underscored grave concern at acts of violence and discrimination, in all regions of the world, committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. It also calls for the United Nations to convene a panel aimed at examining discriminatory laws, a requirement that a Pakistani envoy representing the Organization of the Islamic Conference said had no legal foundation.