The United Nations on Thursday announced it would begin recognizing gay staff members' unions based on place of celebration.

“Previously, a staff member's personal status was determined by the laws applicable in their country or nationality,” a UN policy statement reads. “Now, personal status will be determined instead by the law of the competent authority under which the personal status was established.”

Hyung Hak Nam, president of the UN's LGBT affinity group UN-GLOBE, called the move “a historic achievement … that brings us closer to full equality.”

“What this means is simple: If you're a staff member in a legal union, the UN will recognize it,” Nam said. “If you were thinking of entering into one, you can now do so with the full knowledge that the UN will recognize it.”

“Much still remains to be done. We have to address homophobia and transphobia in the workplace,” Nam added. “We have to make sure staff members' sons and daughters – our families, not only our partners – are recognized.”

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (pictured), a strong supporter of LGBT rights, said of the change: “Human rights are at the core of the United Nations. I am proud to stand for greater equality for all staff, and I call on all members of our UN family to unite in rejecting homophobia as discrimination that can never be tolerated at our workplace.”

According to an analysis released this week, 10 percent of the world's population lives in a jurisdiction where gay and lesbian couples can marry. Many nations recognize gay couples with civil unions.

(Related: Pennsylvania pushed world population living with marriage equality over ten percent.)