Orlando, Gay Rights Moves off Diplomatic Back Burner

UNITED NATIONS — For years, diplomats were more comfortable talking about nuclear warheads than sexual orientation.

Sexual orientation was one of those subjects burdened with too many cultural sensitivities. American officials, even if they wanted to advance it on the diplomatic agenda, were wary of offending their allies, not least in the Islamic world.

The attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., moved the needle.

In its aftermath, the United States corralled an unlikely group of countries to support a United Nations Security Council statement that condemned the attack for “targeting persons as a result of their sexual orientation.” Even Egypt and Russia — not known for embracing their gay and lesbian citizens — signed on, after what diplomats called intense consultations....

...The Security Council statement, which was drafted by the United States and issued Monday, carries no legal weight. But it is the first time that the powerful institution, with the capacity to authorize wars, weighed in on sexual orientation.

Homosexuality is still a crime in 73 of the world’s 193 countries, according to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association; in 13, the death penalty can be applied....