The UN Security Council overcame resistance from Russia, African, and Muslim states on June 13 and condemned the mass shooting at a Florida gay nightclub.
The council denounced the attack "targeting persons as a result of their sexual orientation" in a U.S.-drafted resolution. A gunman pledging allegiance to Islamic State carried out the mass shooting on June 12, killing 49 people.
Rights groups say IS has executed dozens of gay men by throwing them from buildings or stoning them and then posting videos of the murders online.
"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," Deputy U.S. Ambassador David Pressman said in urging support for the resolution.
Being gay is a crime in at least 74 countries, the UN has said. The issue of gay rights usually sparks heated debate at the UN. Russia joined recently with Muslim countries in barring gay groups from attending a UN conference on AIDS.