Kerry Announces New Special Envoy to Defend LGBT Rights Overseas

The Boston Globe announced Thursday that a State Department official has affirmed that a new “special envoy to advocate for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people overseas” is currently being vetted and is set for appointment by the end of February.

An e-mail sent to the Globe details Secretary of State John Kerry’s requirements for this position. The ideal candidate is a diplomat who is already on the inside — “a career Foreign Service officer” — and one who is openly gay.

The creation of this LGBT envoy was introduced in a bill sponsored by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), a bill that has already died in front of Congress. Last week, Markey reintroduced the bill along with an identical version sponsored by a California Democrat to the House of Representatives.

From the Globe:

If enacted, Markey’s bill would have established the envoy under the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Labor and Human Rights to direct the federal government’s responses to international human rights abuses against LGBT people. The envoy would have also represented the federal government in international discussions of LGBT rights.

However, before the bill even has a chance for vote, Kerry prematurely announced the position of the special envoy. The department official stated in the e-mail:

We think of this new legislation as a very helpful vote of confidence, but we wouldn’t want to wait for passage to do something we’ve long thought was the right thing to do and which has been in process.

Markey is quoted as praising Kerry’s action saying, “[the envoy] will be a global model for defending LGBT rights around the world.”


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