Kerry names LGBT envoy

The State Department has appointed its first special envoy to promote LGBT rights globally.

Randy Berry, a senior U.S. Foreign Service officer will oversee the government’s efforts to end violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people around the world. 

Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryUS inaction is hurting the chance for peace in Libya Poll: More Republican voters think party is more united than Democratic voters Biden's pick for vice president doesn't matter much MORE said that too often, in too many countries, LGBT people are threatened, jailed and prosecuted.

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“That’s why we’re working to overturn laws that criminalize consensual same-sex conduct in countries around the world,” he said in a statement. “It’s why we’re building our capacity to respond rapidly to violence against LGBT persons, and it’s why we’re working with governments, civil society, and the private sector through the Global Equality Fund to support programs advancing the human rights of LGBT persons worldwide.”

Berry’s appointment drew cheers from the LGBT community.

“This new appointment sends a message that the United States will remain on the forefront of protecting the human rights of LGBT people around the world," Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), said in a news release. “Nations that place LGBT people in the cross hairs of danger must know that the United States will not turn a blind eye.”

According to the HRC, same-sex conduct is criminalized in 76 countries; of those, 10 — including Iran and Saudi Arabia — use the death penalty as punishment.