US to appoint gay rights envoy

Foreign service officer, who will be named soon, to help promote awareness of LGBT issues across the world

A rainbow gay pride flag.  (AFP/BEN STANSALL)
A rainbow gay pride flag. (AFP/BEN STANSALL)

The United States will appoint an openly gay official as a special envoy to promote the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people overseas, the US State Department said Friday.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said US Secretary of State John Kerry would “soon” make the appointment.

“It will be an openly gay foreign service officer. We don’t have a finalized name yet. But we will announce soon,” Harf said.

Harf said the appointment reflected Kerry’s “commitment and the administration’s commitment to advancing the human rights of LGBT persons globally.”

President Barack Obama’s administration has repeatedly pressed foreign governments on the human rights of gays and lesbians, systematically drawing attention to rights abuses or repression in several African countries.

Harf, meanwhile, declined to comment on a referendum on same-sex marriage due to take place in Slovakia on Saturday.

“The US doesn’t take a position on the issue of same-sex marriage in other countries,” Harf said.

The US Supreme Court announced last month it will hear a case on same-sex marriage later this year that is expected to finally settle once and for all the debate in America surrounding the long-running civil rights issue.

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