WASHINGTON (CNN) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged Monday to fight for gay rights and called on the world to stop discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation.
"As secretary of state, I will advance a comprehensive human rights agenda that includes the elimination of violence and discrimination against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity," Clinton said in a written statement.
President Barack Obama has proclaimed June to be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.
Clinton's statement marked the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City, often considered the launch of the U.S. gay rights movement.
"The example set by those fighting for equal rights in the United States gives hope to men and women around the world who yearn for a better future for themselves and their loved ones," Clinton said.
She acknowledged that gays and lesbians still have a long way to go to achieve equality in the United States, but noted homosexuals in some parts of the world live in constant fear of violence or arrest.
"The persecution of gays and lesbians is a violation of human rights and an affront to human decency, and it must end," Clinton said.
The Obama administration broke with that of George W. Bush to support a United Nations resolution calling for decriminalization of homosexuality, which is currently punishable by death in seven countries.
In addition, Clinton aides last month said the secretary of state soon will extend to same-sex partners of homosexual diplomats benefits equal to those that partners of their heterosexual colleagues receive.
In her statement Monday, Clinton saluted the service of "our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees in Washington and around the world."