In what the U.S. State Department is calling a "historic step," the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva passed a resolution Friday supporting equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation.
The resolution, introduced by South Africa, is the first-ever U.N. resolution on the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered persons.
It passed with 23 votes in favor, 19 opposed and three abstentions, amid strong criticism of South Africa by some African nations.
Suzanne Nossel, deputy assistant secretary of state for international organizations, told CNN, "It really is a key part in setting a new norm that gay rights are human rights and that that has to be accepted globally."
"It talks about the violence and discrimination that people of LGBT persuasion experience around the world," she said, "and that those issues ... need to be taken seriously. It calls for reporting on what's going on, where people are being discriminated against, the violence that is taking place, and it really puts the issue squarely on the U.N.'s agenda going forward."
Divided opinion continues among some countries about whether the time has come to take up gay rights in the U.N. forum, Nossel said, "so this resolution is really significant as far as gaining widespread support for doing just that."FULL STORY