President Barack Obama on Tuesday announced his administration would consider gay rights in making decisions about foreign aid.

The president issued a memorandum directing all agencies engaged abroad to make certain U.S. aid programs “promote and protect” the rights of gay people.

“The struggle to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons is a global challenge, and one that is central to the United States commitment to promoting human rights,” Obama wrote in the document. “I am deeply concerned by the violence and discrimination targeting LGBT persons around the word.”

Agencies will increase government and civil society engagement in an effort to promote gay rights, including combating criminalization of LGBT status or conduct abroad.

The memo also requires all agencies engaged abroad to submit an annual report to the Department of State on their progress towards advancing LGBT issues. The first report is due on June 6.

Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest gay rights advocate, cheered the move.

“Today's actions by President Obama make clear that the United States will not turn a blind eye when governments commit or allow abuses to the human rights of LGBT people,” Solmonese said in a statement.

(Related: Nigerian bill criminalizing gay marriage threatens AIDS funding.)