In letter to Dept. of State and USAID, lawmakers call for funding and institutionalization of programs and positions that advance rights of LGBT community around the world

Washington (June 24, 2016) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Congressmen David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) today were joined by 82 Democrats from the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in calling on the Department of State and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to support programs that address the global challenges of the LGBT community. In the past two years, USAID has created a Senior LGBT Coordinator position and the State Department has opened an Office of the Special Envoy for the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Persons. In the letter, the lawmakers call for institutionalizing the Special Envoy position and USAID’s LGBT portfolio. There are still many countries in which homosexuality is illegal and LGBT persons face persecution. More than 75 countries have anti-LGBT laws.

“It is a moral and strategic imperative for the United States to continue to protect and expand human rights for all people, regardless of who they are and whom they love,” write the Senators in the letter for Secretary of States John Kerry and USAID Administrator Gayle Smith.“The Department of State and USAID, as representatives of the United States government worldwide, are in a unique and influential position to advance the basic human rights of all people.”

A copy of the letter can be found HERE.

Other Senators signing the letter include: Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Al Franken (D-Wisc.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.).  


Members of the House of Representatives signing the letter include: Reps. David N. Cicilline, Alan Lowenthal, Mark Pocan, Alcee L. Hastings, James P. McGovern, Derek Kilmer, Jerrold Nadler, Adam Smith, Dan Kildee, Mark DeSaulnier, Sean Patrick Maloney, Jim McDermott, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Jan Schakowsky, Grace F. Napolitano, Eliot L. Engel, Keith Ellison, Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Betty McCollum, Judy Chu, Richard Hanna, William R. Keating, Adam B. Schiff, Suzan DelBene, Kathleen M. Rice, Michael M. Honda, Katherine Clark, Kathy Castor, Nydia M. Velázquez, Tim Walz, Ann McLane Kuster, Zoe Lofgren, Mike Quigley, Steve Israel, Brendan F. Boyle, Eric Swalwell, Bobby Rush, Chris Van Hollen, Ted Deutch, Barbara Lee, Grace Meng, Debbie Dingell, Sam Farr, Stephen F. Lynch, Norma J. Torres, Donald S. Beyer Jr., Joe Courtney, Scott H. Peters, Jim Himes, Mark Takano, Ted W. Lieu, Jared Polis, Raúl M. Grijalva, Lois Frankel, Alma S. Adams, Ph.D., Earl Blumenauer, Diana DeGette, Elizabeth H. Esty, Carolyn B. Maloney, Niki Tsongas, Luis V. Gutiérrez, Frederica S. Wilson, John Yarmuth, Tony Cárdenas and Kyrsten Sinema.