Massachusetts senator John Kerry will likely be the nation's next Secretary of State, and LGBT rights activists couldn't be happier about it.
With Kerry's long gay-friendly record, advocates are optimistic his support will translate to foreign endeavors, The Washington Blade reports. The Democratic senator supported an employment nondiscrimination bill and the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," and has been a vocal opponent of the nation's ban on gay men donating blood. While he didn't yet support marriage equality during his unsuccessful 2004 presidential run, Kerry is now one of the leading Democratic supporters (he also voted against the antigay Defense of Marriage Act in 1996).
"Sen. Kerry has been a trailblazer in the fight for LGBT equality, both domestically and internationally," HRC president Chad Griffin said. "His leadership in repealing the HIV travel ban, as well as his steadfast support for employment nondiscrimination protections and addressing the needs of LGBT homeless youth demonstrate his dedication to equality and to the rights of LGBT people worldwide."
Kerry's LGBT support will be necessary in dealing with virulently homophobic nations like Uganda, Cameroon, and Russia. Those countries either already criminalize homosexuality or are working towards stringent antigay legislation. Uganda will probably be the highest priority as its leaders are seriously considering a bill that could put certain gays to death.