Massachusetts Senator Edward Markey and California Rep. Alan Lowenthal on Thursday introduced bicameral legislation which seeks to promote LGBT rights worldwide.

The International Human Rights Defense Act, first introduced by Markey last year, would direct the State Department to make preventing discrimination against the LGBT community a foreign policy priority. A special envoy would be appointed to coordinate such efforts.

“When President Obama addressed the nation and committed to defending the human rights of the LGBT community, we made that commitment to the world,” Markey said in a statement. “With the rights of the LGBT community under attack around the globe, we must stand hand-in-hand with them in the struggle for recognition and equality everywhere. It is vital to have a dedicated position in the State Department spearheading that effort. The International Human Rights Defense Act will promote a coordinated effort across the federal government to support our position as a model for defending LGBT and human rights around the world.”

Lowenthal added: “We must do what we can as a nation to enforce the precept that all human beings, regardless of where they live, are entitled to a basic set of human rights which include the right to love who they choose without fear of punishment or death. LGBT rights are human rights.”

In more than 80 nations around the world gay sex is a crime, public support for LGBT rights is prohibited or homophobia is sanctioned by the government. Homosexuality is punishable by death in seven countries, according to the statement.