A bid to get gay rights recognised worldwide is being pushed through the UN by France, on behalf of the European Union.
A draft declaration is calling for the global decriminalisation of homosexuality. It already has the support of 66 countries.
The French Secretary of State for Human Rights, Rama Yade, said she was thrilled at the reaction:
“This is an historic day for all gay and transgender people, for the men and women who are fighting for their human dignity.”
But the move has caused waves within the UN.
Many countries are hostile to such a subject being specifically addressed in a UN declaration.
Abdullah Hallak, the Syrian UN representative, said: “We are seriously concerned at the attempt to introduce to the UN some notions that have no legal foundation in any international human rights instrument.”
Gay groups have been celebrating the issues’ high profile. But some of the biggest countries, like the United States, China and Russia, have not signed up to it. In some countries being gay can mean the death sentence.