U.N. Narrowly Passes Historic Gay-Rights Resolution

While lawmakers debate gay marriage up in Albany, down here in the city the United Nations took a historic step on gay rights, narrowly passing a gay-rights resolution today.

CNN reports that the resolution was introduced by South Africa, and passed with "23 votes in favor, 19 opposed and three abstentions amid strong criticism of South Africa by some African nations." (South Africa's 1997 post-apartheid constitution was the first in the world to ban discrimination based upon sexual orientation.)

The declaration, the first of its kind passed by the U.N., was "cautiously worded, expressing 'grave concern' about abuses suffered by people because of their sexual orientation, and commissioning a global report on discrimination of gays," the AP says. "Activists called it a remarkable shift on an issue that has divided the global body for decades," the wire service added.

It's the kind of thing that, during a normal week, would have had New York's gay rights activists celebrating. However, many are already in Albany lobbying for gay marriage, and others still in town are mobilizing for a rally at 7:30 tonight at the Stonewall Inn.

Meanwhile, gay rights tweeters have been chirping at the Obama administration today, annoyed at White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer's suggestion that the president didn't personally fill out the 1996 Windy City Times questionnaire, in which he declared his support for same-sex marriage.

"If you actually go back and look, that questionnaire was actually filled out by someone else, not the president," Pfeiffer reportedly said at Netroots Nation. He stopped short of saying the signature was a forgery, adding that the president continues to "evolve" on the marriage question: "I can't tell you today when that evolution will continue, but that is where he is, and I will say, people in this room have pushed him on this, and he believes you should continue to push him on it."

sthrasher@villagevoice.com / @steven_thrasher

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