US to appoint special envoy to advance human rights of gay people globally: Official

This June 17, 2008 photo shows members of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus. The United States will appoint an openly gay official as a special envoy to promote the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people overseas, the US State Depar
This June 17, 2008 photo shows members of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus. The United States will appoint an openly gay official as a special envoy to promote the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people overseas, the US State Department said on Friday. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States will appoint an openly gay official as a special envoy to promote the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people overseas, the US State Department said on Friday.

State Department spokesman Marie Harf said US top diplomat John Kerry would "soon" make the appointment. "It will be an openly gay foreign service officer. We don't have a finalised name yet. But we will announce soon," Ms Harf said.

Ms Harf said the appointment reflected Mr Kerry's "commitment and the administration's commitment to advancing the human rights of LGBT persons globally".

President Barack Obama's administration has repeatedly pressed foreign governments on the human rights of gays and lesbians, systematically drawing attention to rights abuses or repression in several African countries.

Ms Harf, meanwhile, declined to comment on a referendum on same-sex marriage due to take place in Slovakia on Saturday.

"The US doesn't take a position on the issue of same-sex marriage in other countries," Ms Harf said.

The US Supreme Court announced last month it will hear a case on same-sex marriage later this year, which is expected to finally settle once and for all the debate in America surrounding the long-running civil rights issue.