June 26, 2015 / 4:36 PM / 5 years ago

U.N. chief calls U.S. gay marriage ruling 'great step forward' for rights

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Friday that makes gay marriage legal nationwide as “a great step forward for human rights.”

The court ruled 5-4 that the Constitution’s guarantees of due process and equal protection under the law mean that states cannot ban same-sex marriages. With the ruling, gay marriage will become legal in all 50 states.

“Denying couples legal recognition of their relationship opens the door to widespread discrimination. This ruling will help close that door and marks a great step forward for human rights in the United States,” U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said.

He said Ban joined the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and its millions of allies in celebrating this historic decision, Haq said.

Ban has long advocated for equality. A year ago he said the United Nations would recognize all same-sex marriages of its staff, allowing them to receive U.N. benefits.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Grant McCool

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