07.21.15

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Meets with First-Ever State Department Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons

Baldwin provision to affirm U.S. foreign policy commitment to protect vulnerable populations around the world clears Senate hurdle

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin met with Randy W. Berry, United States Department of State’s first-ever Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons for a debrief after his extensive travel around the world, visiting 15 countries in 6 weeks.

On July 9, Senator Baldwin, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, successfully included language in the committee report accompanying the FY16 State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations bill that affirms the United States’ foreign policy commitment to protect vulnerable LGBT populations around the world. The spending bill passed through the committee by a vote of 27-3 and now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

“Despite the advances we have seen for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the United States, this community faces enormous challenges in many nations around the world, including discrimination, violence and even the threat of the death penalty – all simply because of who they are or who they love,” said Senator Baldwin. “The United States has a moral responsibility to speak out against the oppression of vulnerable peoples, be they racial and religious minorities, women or LGBT people. I was pleased to meet with Mr. Berry today and discuss our shared commitment to human rights abroad and my focus on directing foreign affairs resources towards the places where the needs of the LGBT community are most dire.”

Text of Senator Baldwin’s provision in the FY16 State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations committee report:

Prevention of Discrimination and Abuse.—The Committee directs the Assistant Secretary of State for DRL [Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor], in consultation with the Assistant Administrator for DCHA [Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance] and the Special Envoy for the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender [LGBT] Persons, to submit a report not later than 120 days after enactment of the act on steps taken to implement the strategy to prevent discrimination and abuse against LGBT persons abroad, and to respond to discriminatory laws, including in The Gambia and Nigeria. Funding is recommended for the Special Envoy and for programs administered by the USAID Senior LBGT Coordinator.