Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday announced a new global initiative to support gay rights.

Clinton announced the Global Equality Fund during an impassioned speech at the United Nations offices in Geneva. The United States has committed $3 million to the fund that will support groups working for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights worldwide.

The announcement came on the heels of a memorandum signed by President Barack Obama that ties foreign aid to gay rights.

“It is a violation of human rights when people are beaten or killed because of their sexual orientation, or because they do not conform to cultural norms about how men and women should look or behave,” Clinton said.

“It is a violation of human rights when governments declare it is illegal to be gay or allow those who harm gay people to go unpunished.”

“It is a violation of human rights when life-saving care is withheld from people because they are gay, or public spaces are out of bounds to people because they are gay,” she added.

Clinton also rejected the notion that being gay is a Western phenomenon.

“Being gay is not a Western invention. It is a human reality.”

Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), applauded Clinton's remarks.

“Hearing the United States Secretary of State speak passionately about ending violence and discrimination against LGBT people throughout the world left me with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes,” Kendell said. “This is a day to remember, and one that will mark the beginning of a new era in the international recognition of our community.”