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U.S. State Department Formally Appoints Its First Special Envoy For LGBT Rights

Randy BerrySecretary of State John Kerry announced last week that the U.S. State Department would appoint a Special Envoy for LGBT Rights. Randy Berry, former consul general to the Netherlands, will accept the position aimed at connecting with the LGBT communities across the globe.

“Defending and promoting the human rights of LGBT persons is at the core of our commitment to advancing human rights globally – the heart and conscience of our diplomacy,” Kerry said in a statement announcing the appointment. “That’s why we’re working to overturn laws that criminalize consensual same-sex conduct in countries around the world.”

The legislation to create this post was sponsored by Sen. Ed Markey(D-Mass.) but had recently stalled in congress. Secretary of State Kerry used his authority to establish the position which will reside within the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. Hillary Clinton was the first Secretary of State to prioritize LGBT rights. Kerry has continued this mission by taking further steps to reaffirm the universal human rights of all persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

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