John Kerry: We must push back against violence and anti-gay laws globally

US Secretary of State John Kerry has said the West needs to push back against the “global trend of rising violence and discrimination against LGBT persons.”

Kerry was addressing the annual Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies Pride Celebration, as the US stepped up its sanctions against Uganda for its anti-gay law.

He said: “From Uganda to Russia to Iran, LGBT communities face discriminatory laws and practices that attack dignity, undermine safety, and violate human rights. And we each have a responsibility to push back against a global trend of rising violence and discrimination against LGBT persons.

“Maybe all the success we’ve had here, we sort of felt, oh, gosh, it’s got to be happening everywhere else. But it hasn’t been. It’ll come. It’s going to take a while, and it’s going to take courage and patience, stamina in order to continue the fight.

“We need to make certain that we make it clear to people everywhere that there is a fundamental truth: Anti-LGBT violence anywhere is a threat to peace and stability and prosperity everywhere.

“One thing is clear: Making our shared vision a reality will require both the persistent protection of governments, as well as the active participation of citizens.

“I will never forget standing on the Capitol steps in October of 1998 when thousands gathered on a cool autumn evening, and we were there to remember Matthew Shepard two days after he’d been killed in Laramie, Wyoming.

“I’m proud that [his mother Judy] is partnering with the State Department to speak out on these issues around the world. She is an example that reminds us we each have a responsibility to speak out loudly and clearly, and we each have to choose – and it is a choice – to be compassionate and respectful of others.

“And as Secretary of State, I am very proud of the choice that our country has been making these past years.

“We’re here today to send a message: No matter where you are, no matter who you love, we stand with you. And that’s what pride means, and that’s what drives us today.

“The journey isn’t complete, the march isn’t over, the promise isn’t perfected. But we will march on together.”

Earlier this week, Barack Obama confirmed plans to sign an Executive Order banning homophobic workplace discrimination among federal contractors.

Watch the speech below: