State Department to establish LGBT envoy to advocate for rights overseas


WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of State will announce the appointment later this month of a special envoy to advocate for the rights of LGBT people overseas, according to a report by The Boston Globe.

State-DeptThe move would preempt a bill sponsored by Massachusetts Sen. Edward J. Markey (D_, which called for the creation of an LGBT rights envoy. The bill died in the last session of Congress, but was reintroduced last week by Markey, with an identical version in the U.S. House sponsored by Rep. Alan S. Lowenthal (D-N.Y.)

The State Department is currently vetting candidates for the position, and will announce its choice by the end of February. The appointee will be a current State Department officer who is openly gay.

The new job will be an extension of State Department’s recent initiatives to enhance and discuss LGBT rights both at home and abroad.

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In August 2013, the State Department began processing visa applications from same-sex spouses in the same way that it handles those from heterosexual spouses after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Last year, the State Department condemned anti-gay legislation in Uganda and Gambia, and since 2009, the Obama Administration has appointed seven openly-gay ambassadors to international diplomatic posts.

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