Movie Night at the State Dep't: 'Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine'

By Susan Jones | June 11, 2015 | 8:31 AM EDT

The U.S. State Department on June 12, 2015 is screening a movie about Matthew Shepard as part of its push for global LGBT rights. (AP File Photo)

( - June 12 is movie night at the U.S. State Department, where the push for global homosexual "rights" has never been stronger.

In conjunction with the Council for Global Equality,  the Obama State Department plans to screen the award-winning documentary, "Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine."

"This film powerfully shares the story of University of Wyoming student, Matthew Shepard, who was beaten and killed for being gay," the State Department announced.

(Since Shepard's murder in 1998, questions have surfaced about the motive, with some suggesting the crime was driven by drugs and money, not Shepard's sexual orientation. One of the two young men convicted of killing Shepard told ABC's "20/20" in 2004 he did not target Shepard because Shepard was homosexual: "I would say it wasn't a hate crime. All I wanted to do was beat him up and rob him," Aaron McKinney, a methamphetamine user, told ABC's Elizabeth Vargas.)

Friday's movie screening will be preceded by remarks from Randy Berry, the State Department's first-ever Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons.  (The "I," a recent addition to the LGBT acronym, stands for intersex.)

To help spread the word, Berry's remarks will be open to credentialed members of the media, the State Department said.

And the film will be followed by a question and answer session with the film’s director (and friend of Matthew Shepard) Michele Josue, and with Matthew’s parents, Dennis and Judy Shepard, who became activists for LGBT rights and hate-crimes legislation after their son's murder.

Before the movie, Judy and Dennis Shepard will attend a White House meeting on “combating bias-motivated violence against LGBTI persons around the world.”

The Obama administration has made "gay rights" both a domestic and a foreign policy priority.

"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 Kerry said this past February, when he named Berry as the nation's first envoy for gay rights.

"That’s why we’re working to overturn laws that criminalize consensual same-sex conduct in countries around the world," Kerry said. "It’s why we’re building our capacity to respond rapidly to violence against LGBT persons, and it’s why we’re working with governments, civil society, and the private sector through the Global Equality Fund to support programs advancing the human rights of LGBT persons worldwide."

According to the documentary's website, "Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine" follows director Michele Josue as she travels to "pivotal locations in Shepard’s life, interviewing other friends and family members, and gaining insight into the beautiful life and devastating loss of Matthew Shepard."

It adds that Shepard's death "brought the reality of inequality and vicious, irrational contempt into the public consciousness and set the stage for the landmark Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which President Barack Obama signed into law in 2009."