The United States on Monday named Randy Berry as its first international envoy for LGBT rights.

“Defending and promoting the human rights of LGBT persons is at the core of our commitment to advancing human rights globally – the heart and conscience of our diplomacy,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement. “That’s why we're working to overturn laws that criminalize consensual same-sex conduct in countries around the world.”

Kerry praised Berry as the “right American official for this important assignment.”

“He's a motivator. But most importantly for this effort, he's got vision. Wherever he's served – from Nepal to New Zealand, from Uganda to Bangladesh, from Egypt to South Africa, and most recently as Consul General in Amsterdam – Randy has excelled. He's a voice of clarity and conviction on human rights. And I'm confident that Randy's leadership as our new Special Envoy will significantly advance efforts underway to move towards a world free from violence and discrimination against LGBT persons,” he said.

The appointment comes just weeks after Democrats Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Rep. Alan Lowenthal of California introduced legislation which wold create the post through legislative action.

According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, gay sex is criminalized in 76 countries, including 10 where it is punishable by death.

“This new appointment sends a message that the United States will remain on the forefront of protecting the human rights of LGBT people around the world,” HRC President Chad Griffin said. “Nations that place LGBT people in the cross hairs of danger must know that the United States will not turn a blind eye.”