Barack Obama is to create a new envoy role within the State Department, to promote LGBT rights around the world.

The US President is expected to announce later this month that he will appoint the first LGBT rights envoy.

According to an official within the State Department, the envoy will be an openly gay Foreign Service officer – and is currently going through the final stages of vetting.

Democratic Senator Ed Markey, who previously tried to secure a rights envoy through a bill in Congress, said: “I welcome the State Department’s action on my call to make defending LGBT rights a foreign policy priority.

“This special envoy position at the State Department will be a global model for defending LGBT rights around the world.”

Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign said: “For the first time in our nation’s history, LGBT people around the world will have a dedicated, full-time senior advocate in the U.S. State Department.

“President Obama and Secretary Kerry have shown tremendous leadership in championing the rights of LGBT people abroad.

“We look forward to working closely with whomever is selected for this new role, as we continue to push back against laws and attitudes that lead to human rights violations against LGBT people.”

Obama previously appointed a Democratic activist to the role of LGBT Liaison within the White House – but the role within the State Department will be distinct.

In the UK, the Labour party has said it would introduce an LGBT Rights Envoy – with Lord Michael Cashman set to take up the role if the party is elected.