Democrats have introduced an LGBT rights bill in both houses of Congress.
Rep. Alan Lowenthal and Sen. Edward Markey on Friday reintroduced the International Human Rights Defense Act, reports Reuters.
The bill, which was first filed by Markey last year but was never voted upon, would make LGBT rights a priority in the U.S. State Department, and empower it to respond to discrimination across the globe. To this end, it will require the State Department to add an LGBT section to its annual human rights report, as well as a position dedicated to monitoring violence against this community.
Under The Human Rights Defense Act, Congress would also be required to create a global plan to tackle discrimination against minorities of gender identity and sexual orientation.
The move follows Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, which specifically called for protecting minority groups like the LGBT community as a matter of national security.
“That’s why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender,” Obama stated. “We do these things not only because they’re right, but because they make us safer."
In a recent statement, Markey said the world saw these words as a promise, which the new bill will help fulfill.
“When President Obama addressed the nation and committed to defending the human rights of the LGBT community, we made that commitment to the world,” he said. “With the rights of the LGBT community under attack around the globe, we must stand hand-in-hand with them in the struggle for recognition and equality everywhere.”