President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday cheered passage of a United Nations resolution condemning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The U.S.-backed nonbinding resolution was approved in the 47-member Human Rights Council with a 23 to 19 vote, with 3 abstentions.

Put forward by South Africa, the resolution commissions a global inquiry into the discrimination and mistreatment of LGBT people.

Obama called the resolution's passage a “significant milestone in the long struggle for [LGBT] equality.”

“The United States stands proudly with those nations that are standing up to intolerance, discrimination, and homophobia,” the president said in a statement. “As the United Nations begins to codify and enshrine the promise of equality for LGBT persons, the world becomes a safer, more respectful, and more humane place for all people.”

“This represents a historic moment to highlight the human rights abuses and violations that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people face around the world based solely on who they are and who they love,” Clinton said.

“All over the world, people face human rights abuses and violations because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, including torture, rape, criminal sanctions, and killing. Today’s landmark resolution affirms that human rights are universal. People cannot be excluded from protection simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The United States will continue to stand up for human rights wherever there is inequality and we will seek more commitments from countries to join this important resolution,” she added.

The measure was backed by the European Union, Brazil and other Latin American countries. African and Islamic countries, however, condemned the resolution, saying it had “nothing to do with fundamental human rights.”