A Senate bill proposes the creation of an LGBT Envoy, to work against discrimination and violence around the world.

The International Human Rights Defense Act, introduced by Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey last week, has more than 20 co-sponsors so far.

Markey told Buzzfeed: “For the United States to hold true to our commitment to defending the human rights of all people around the world, we must stand with the LGBT community in their struggle for recognition and equality everywhere.

“By fostering a coordinated effort across the federal government and relevant agencies, we can meet the enormous challenge before us and work to ensure equality for all people around the globe.”

In addition to creating the Envoy role, the bill would call on the State Department to “devise a global strategy”to tackle discrimination, and to coordinate with LGBT-rights advocates in other countries.

The Human Rights Campaign said in a statement: “In a world where it is still a crime to be gay in more than 80 countries – and where homosexuality is punished by death in seven – it is now more important than ever that the United States develop a comprehensive strategy for addressing LGBT discrimination abroad and make LGBT human rights a foreign policy priority. ”

“HRC President Chad Griffin added: “For the United States to hold true to our commitment to defending the human rights of all people around the world, we must stand with the LGBT community in their struggle for recognition and equality everywhere.”

“The protection of LGBT rights globally is not only a moral imperative, but a necessity in our interconnected world. LGBT Americans who work for American business that have strong LGBT protections are hesitant to take new jobs in countries that criminalize them just for being who they are.”

It has been endorsed by several other groups, including the Council for Global Equality, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, and the American Jewish World Service, but is unlikely to have a smooth ride through Congress.

Even if the bill passes the Democrat-controlled Senate, it is unlikely it would move through the Republican-controlled House of Representatives., where the Employment Non-Discrimination Act has been stalled for months.

Markey has spoken out in favour of LGBT rights before, saying last year that “it is essential” for LGBT athletes and their families to feel safe attending the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.