The United States on Monday called on all 193 members of the United Nations to not only condemn the terrorism that resulted in the mass killing of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Florida over the weekend, but also to protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people from such attacks. Deputy US Ambassador to the UN David Pressman said protecting the dignity of all human beings should be at the heart of the assembly's work going forward, the AP reports. "If we are united in our outrage by the killing of so many—and we are—let us be equally united around the basic premise of upholding the universal dignity of all persons regardless of who they love, not just around condemning the terrorists who kill them," he said.
Pressman pointed to a General Assembly resolution that calls on member states to protect the lives of all people and investigate killings. Yet "every time it is up for consideration, there is a pitched fight" over whether it is appropriate to include sexual orientation and gender identity in its language," he said. Reuters notes that the UN says being gay is a crime in at least 74 countries. When the UN announced in 2014 that it would recognize the same-sex marriages of staff, Russia tried to overturn the move and was supported by 43 countries, including China and India. Earlier this year, a group of 51 Muslim states banned numerous LGBT organizations from attending a high-level General Assembly meeting on AIDS. (Read more United Nations stories.)