The U.S. has already done a great deal to protect LGBT people globally, but much more work still needs to be done: 78 countries around the world still criminalize same-sex relationships. And believe it or not, some of the most vocal advocates for these deplorable laws are from the United States.
Take for example infamous anti-LGBT extremist Scott Lively, who recently qualified to be on the ballot as an independent candidate for the Massachusetts gubernatorial election this fall. Lively dangerously promotes anti-LGBT hatred abroad and is now trying to build his official credentials as the governor of Massachusetts.
Lively has a long record of exporting vicious hate to other countries, and now he is trying to spread his platform of bigotry at home. In Russia and Uganda, Lively has claimed that LGBT people are responsible for the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide and the spread of HIV/AIDS. Some Ugandan officials even credit Lively with the idea of introducing new legislation to further criminalize homosexuality in the country.
Scott Lively is not alone. The infamous World Congress of Families has decided to meet in Salt Lake City next year to plot out their strategy for exporting hate around the world. This American-led organization has praised Vladimir Putin as the standard-bearer for traditional "family values" and honored a Nigerian activist who claims LGBT advocates conspire with the terrorist group Boko Haram with a "Woman of the Year" award.
An LGBT envoy would provide a public face for our efforts and help to ensure proper coordination of international LGBT issues across the federal government. It would show the world that America believes in compassion and tolerance—and that we do not stand with deplorable anti-LGBT advocates like Scott Lively.
We must build upon the work we are doing to achieve equality—and the great strides we've already made at home—to put the spotlight on LGBT human rights internationally. The State Department already has a number of senior level positions on issue areas that require special focus and coordination, but none address the unique and critical issues facing LGBT people around the world. If we act now, the Secretary of State could even announce the new position at the upcoming UN General Assembly meetings this month.