In a major development the United Nations announced that it will recognize marriage equality for of all its staffers so that all gay & lesbian employees enjoy the same benefits as their hetero colleagues. Up until now the UN only recognized the gay & lesbian marriages of staffers who came from countries where gay marriage is legal. The new policy now includes anyone who marries in countries where marriage equality is legal. This means that gay & lesbian spouses of UN employees will get health insurance coverage & the chance to accompany their spouses on home leave every couple of years, among other benefits. Hyung Hak Nam president of UN-Globe the LGBT group that has been trying to achieve these basic rights & benefits for our community since 1997 stated, "Too many of us have suffered under the previous policy. Too many of us have been unable to secure, for example, residency visas & health benefits for our spouses because of a discriminatory policy that would refuse to recognize our legal partners. Let us just enjoy this moment, this huge victory." The new policy led by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon became effective June 26th & will impact the UN's approximately 43,000 employees worldwide. Ban has been an outspoken supporter of gay rights, openly denouncing homophobia in speeches around the world. Gay marriage is legal in 18 countries, plus parts of the United States & Mexico. Now let’s see how this new UN policy effects countries like Uganda where being gay is punishable by life in prison.
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