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Content about US State Department

February 6, 2015

New post will be filled by an openly gay Foreign Service officer

US Secretary of State John Kerry will announce the appointment later this month of a special envoy to advocate for LGBTI rights overseas.

The move pre-empts a bill introduced last week in boths houses of the Senate that would make promoting LGBTI rights a priority of US foreign policy.

January 11, 2014

Says Russia has 'provided vague guidance as to which actions will be interpreted by authorities as "LGBT propaganda"'

The US State Department made special note of Russia's anti-gay propaganda law in a travel alert it issued on Friday (10 January) for those traveling to Sochi for the Olympics.

The alert mentions Russia's ban on 'propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations,' the controversial anti-gay law that went into effect last year, and states it will be applied to visitors as well as Russians.

But the US government acknowledges that the law is quite vague.

September 12, 2013

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor and openly gay man Daniel Baer has been sworn in as the US ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe

Openly gay US State Department official Daniel Baer will be packing his bags for Vienna after the Obama Administration swore him in as the new US ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Baer was sworn in yesterday by acting Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Uzra Zeye.

The swearing in ceremony took place in the Benjamin Franklin room of the State Department building where Baer was joined by partner Brian Walsh.

August 2, 2013

According to US Secretary of State John Kerry in 2014 married gay couples from England and Wales will have their visa applications treated like opposite sex married couples

In a speech at the US Embassy in London, Secretary of State John Kerry disclosed the visa applications of same-sex married couples will now be treated just like applications from opposite-sex spouses.

'...Here is exactly what this rule means: if you are the spouse of a US citizen, your visa application will be treated equally,' Kerry said, according to a 2 August release from the State Department.

May 1, 2013

Mariela Castro had originally been denied visa to travel from NYC

The US State Department has changed course and will now allow the daughter of Cuban leader Raul Castro to travel to Philadelphia this week to accept an award from The Equality Forum for her work on behalf of gay rights.

Mariela Castro, already in the US attending meetings in New York, is prevented as a Cuban diplomat from traveling more than 25 miles from the United Nations without permission.

April 26, 2013

Equaity Forum calls the visa denial 'shocking'

The niece of retired Cuban leader Fidel Castro has been denied a visa by the US State Department to travel to Philadelphia to accept an award for her work on behalf of gay rights.

Mariela Castro, director of Cuba's National Center for Sex Education, is already in the US attending meetings in New York. But Cuban diplomats are prevented from traveling more than 25 miles from the United Nations without permission.

August 24, 2012

US authorities have condemned political violence and harassment by Zimbabwean security forces against the country’s LGBT rights activists

The US State Department has condemned the mass roundup of LGBT activists in Zimbabwe in what it has called ‘a pattern of abuse.’

Two truckloads full of riot police rounded up forty-four members of the group Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) on August 11 and held overnight but all were released without charge the following morning.

Police claimed they were searching for illegal data and offensive materials.

March 11, 2012

Georgiy Poltavchenko signs law against gay ‘propaganda to minors’ despite international pressure – now four Russian regions have similar laws

The governor of St Petersburg in Russia has signed a bill into law which is designed to gag the local gay and transgender population.

The law officially prevents the ‘propaganda of homosexuality to minors’ but campaigners warn it will be used to gag any public discussion of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender issues or events targeted at gay and trans people.

February 29, 2012

Local Russian politicians ignore massive European, US and global pressure to press ahead with gay gag law

St Petersburg politicians have today (29 February) voted in favor of a new law which makes people criminals if they discuss homosexuality in public.

The law prohibiting public discussion of LGBT issues is similar to rules already introduced in the country's Ryazan, Arkhangelsk and Kostroma regions.

Currently, the bill has fines of up to 1 million roubles ($34,400 €25,000) for organisations and up to 5,000 roubles (€172 €125) for individuals.

February 17, 2012

German parliament members join activists to protest new and established anti-gay Russian laws

About 200 protestors gathered outside the Russian embassy in Berlin to demonstrate against homophobic laws in Russia.

Members of the Bundestag, the German parliament, joined with LGBT activists and trade unionists for the protest. It was held on Wednesday (15 February) but pictures have only now become available.

February 14, 2012

MEPs have spoken out against Russia's anti-gay laws as St. Petersburg perpares to pass a bill banning 'promotion of homosexuality'

MEPs have slammed Russia for its anti-gay censorship laws on the eve a bill which bans the 'promotion of homosexuality' in St. Petersburg reaches its final stages.

Last Wednesday (8 February) politicians in the Russian city voted 31 in favour and six against the new anti-gay law, which will go before the Legislative Assembly in St. Petersburg for its the third and final reading.

February 10, 2012

Actor and TV presenter Stephen Fry condemns Russian city’s plan for anti-gay censorship law

British actor, author, TV presenter and comic Stephen Fry has joined the international criticism of St Petersburg for its plans to ban discussion of gay issues.

On Wednesday (8 February) politicians in the Russian city voted 31 in favour and six against the new anti-gay law.

December 29, 2011

The US State Department has followed up on Hillary Clinton’s LGBT global rights speech by releasing a video

The US State Department has issued an LGBT rights video based on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s historic UN speech.

In the video sections of Clinton’s speech in Geneva on International Human Rights Day in December are cut with images of LGBT people around the world and video of pride parades.

In the address, Clinton described LGBT people as ‘human beings born free and given, bestowed equality and dignity’ but she said that securing those freedoms is ‘one of the remaining human rights challenges of our time’.