Discrimination | Queen Elizabeth II | Royalty

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Queen Elizabeth II to Sign Historic Pledge Against Discrimination Seen As Signal of Gay Rights Support

Queen Elizabeth II will sign an historic pledge against discrimination that does not explicitly mention gay people but is being seen as a powerful gesture on gay and women's rights, the Daily Mail reports:

QueenIn a live television broadcast, she will sign a new charter designed to stamp out discrimination against homosexual people and promote the ‘empowerment’ of women – a key part of a new drive to boost human rights and living standards across the Commonwealth.

In her first public appearance since she had hospital treatment for a stomach bug, the Queen will sign the new Commonwealth Charter and make a speech explaining her passionate commitment to it.

Insiders say her decision to highlight the event is a ‘watershed’ moment – the first time she has clearly signalled her support for gay rights in her 61-year reign.

The charter, dubbed a ‘21st Century Commonwealth Magna Carta’ declares: ‘We are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other grounds.’

The ‘other grounds’ is intended to refer to sexuality – but specific reference to ‘gays and lesbians’ was omitted in deference to Commonwealth countries with draconian anti-gay laws.

The Queen is expected to say that the rights must "include everyone", according to the paper.

Also:

With the Duchess of Cambridge about five months’ pregnant, the change in the law could have a crucial effect. At present, if, as is rumoured, the Duchess and Prince William have a daughter, but go on to have a son, the son would become King when William dies. However, under the law change, due to be approved in the next few months, the girl would become Monarch.

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  1. What people in democracies may not understand is that the queen is making this declaration because she has been told to do so by the political leaders of the nation. Her statement isn't made on the basis of her personal commitment (if any) to gay rights, but because she is obliged, as a constitutional monarch, to make the statements that the government directs her to make.

    She is signing a non-discrimination charter that was agreed to by all the Commonwealth heads of government. They, not she, are the origins of the statement.

    The reason that "gay rights" is not included in a document that had to be approved by all the Commonwealth heads of government is that not all Commonwealth heads of government would approve such a document! As noted in the Telegraph's story, 41 of the 54 Commonwealth nations have laws against gay sex, and two of them permit the death penalty for gay acts.

    This is a baby step forward, not a great leap nor even a heroic stride.

    Posted by: Vint | Mar 9, 2013 10:00:00 PM


  2. "other grounds" - yep, that's a ringing endorsement!

    Posted by: niles | Mar 9, 2013 10:03:14 PM


  3. She's on our side, people. Count that positive for the year 2013.

    Posted by: Manny Espinola | Mar 9, 2013 10:05:07 PM


  4. @Bob: Your excuse is the same one that defenders of Pius XII use to explain why he did not specifically condemn the Nazi treatment/slaughter of the Jews.

    Posted by: andrew | Mar 9, 2013 10:34:02 PM


  5. @Will: We don't need to be always explicitly named but she made a list: " gender, race, color, creed, political belief", when you deliberately leave out the other most discriminated against category of people it is extremely offensive to me and I hope to most other fair minded people.

    Posted by: andrew | Mar 9, 2013 10:43:23 PM


  6. VINT, you failed to mention that 41 of the 41 commonwealth countries with anti-gay laws had those laws imposed upon them by ENGLAND under colonial rule. To say that ENGLAND should now be afraid to mention sexual orientation is ridiculous. The monarchy and England need to be making it clear, over and over, that homosexuality wasn't imported into and imposed upon commonwealth countries but rather homophobia and homophobic laws were.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Mar 9, 2013 10:51:16 PM


  7. Let's see... About 60 English monarchs in 1000 years, and of the 6 women*, 3 (including the current one) have to be counted among the top 10 of all time. So yes, probably time to stop barring women from accession. Or, better, start barring men, too, and move to a fully republican constitutional democracy.


    *I don't count Empress Maude or Queen Jane.

    Posted by: BABH | Mar 9, 2013 11:03:32 PM


  8. She explicitly named other groups which AREN'T discriminated against legally

    Also, historically "all" HASN'T meant gay people

    Posted by: rick scatorum | Mar 9, 2013 11:18:09 PM


  9. "other grounds"

    Does that include coffee grounds?

    Parade grounds?

    Fairgrounds?

    One can see where this is a bit confusing.

    Posted by: johnny | Mar 9, 2013 11:21:29 PM


  10. The romanovs, French royalty, the hapsburgs....why the windsors??

    Posted by: rick scatorum | Mar 9, 2013 11:22:32 PM


  11. I don't get it. This statement supposedly includes sexual orientation but it is only implied because some of the antigay Commonwealth countries are bigoted? This sounds like the assertions by antigay religious groups in this country that they oppose bullying of gay youths, but it would be wrong to mention them by name because that would be sanctioning "special treatment."

    Posted by: john patrick | Mar 10, 2013 12:14:18 AM


  12. The Daily Mail is a tabloid newspaper which consistently prints stories that are sensationalised at best and fabricated at worst.

    Towleroad...as juicy is this sort of story would be, I would HIGHLY recommend getting another source as confirmation other than the Daily Mail.

    Having studied the monarchy from a constitutional perspective, the explicit support of LGBT equality--or any government policy, for that matter--would be unprecedented.

    Posted by: J.C | Mar 10, 2013 1:40:08 AM


  13. well, she did give the "Royal Assent" to the major LGBT-based advances in Canada, being a Commonwealth country.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 10, 2013 3:54:17 AM


  14. I think this is very good.

    Posted by: Matt26 | Mar 10, 2013 4:26:25 AM


  15. I get some people could be frustrated that she didn't say more in the statement, in specifically referencing LGBT rights. But I think it's a nice statement and the implication is there, which is real progress.

    You have to remember that she has to weigh the need to make a positive statement with the very real fact that lots of anti-gay commonwealth countries have thought/are thinking of voting to get rid of the monarchy.

    Don't get me wrong... I think they should. I just don't want the reason for them to do that to have anything related to the fact that she came out for full equality. That would actually set the people in those countries further back on GLBT rights.

    Posted by: Ryan | Mar 10, 2013 5:19:08 AM


  16. Overnight I've had a complete rethink on this post.

    I now believe that sexual orientation should have been expressly mentioned and that the failure to do so is just pandering to the bigoted Commonwealth nations as Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya.......

    @ WILL : No. We are not now suddenly and surprisingly equal and accepted by not being mentioned as a specific class.....
    "We are part of the whole"....if you believe that you are delusional.

    The omission was deliberately done to appease the extremist African $hit holes mentioned.
    For the Queen to leave out 'sexual orientation' within a few months of President Obama mentioning it is a calculated slap in the face of the LGBT community......and a capitulation by the Conservative Govt......and as someone has mentioned it is a green light to use the omission to base a policy of discrimination.
    What a phuck-up.

    We need to petition for a change and we need to scream loud at this manifest capitulation to the right wing nutters of the mad Commonwealth countries.
    We have gone way past the "love that dare not speak its name".....and we are not going back to a situation where "sexual orientation" dare not speak its name.
    WE want to be mentioned as a specific ground for non discrimination.....otherwise our non-protection will be used as a stick to beat us.
    I respectfully agree with the posters who thinks this is a cop-out.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Mar 10, 2013 6:47:36 AM


  17. If it's good enough to mention women, why not homosexuals? The Queen is actually being homophobic by failing to mention us.

    Posted by: rise | Mar 10, 2013 7:17:11 AM


  18. Couldn't just have added the simple words "sexual orientation"? Screw the draconian twits. What utter BS.

    Posted by: jim | Mar 10, 2013 8:50:06 AM


  19. The charter - and her speech, pointedly exclude us while having a laundry list of other protected status

    This isn't protecting or advancing GBLT rights. Quite the opposite, again we're too obscene and too scary to be mentioned

    The "other" will not protect us - because 41 of these nations already dismiss us as a "behaviour" or "lifestyle." In fact, by creating an anti-discrimination charter that doesn't include us, this underscores how discriminating against us is not protected. This is a step back for us, not forwards

    Posted by: Sparky | Mar 10, 2013 9:21:50 AM


  20. The British monarch? Meh. People never expect much from the British monarch, but they DO expect much from the British Parliament. And we will have a huge deal from the British Parliament this year—something we still don't have in most of the U.S.—full marriage equality.

    Posted by: Artie_in_Lauderdale | Mar 10, 2013 11:48:56 AM


  21. There is always more at stake than what self-centered folks in privileged circumstances choose to consider. There can be serious consequences to what the Queen and Parliament do.

    The first thing that came to my mind in all of this is Nigeria. Nigeria is a huge country where The Archbishop Akinola holds considerable influence. He's roundly a jackass by our standards, but he's also the bulwark against Islam which is infesting the country and manifesting in violence against Christians and all southern Nigerians. The problems as I understand it are twofold: the Muslims trying to destroy the country and claim it for Allah, and the fact that the Nigerian people are very conservative and superstitious ie ripe for conversion to Islam. Any swift modernization on the part of Archbishop Akinola or the Anglican Communion has the potential to trigger violence and murder of Christians by Moslems in their holy war.

    Nothing is simple.

    Posted by: David Hearne | Mar 10, 2013 12:30:09 PM


  22. Oscar Wilde would have gotten a kick out of this. Over a hundred years later and it is still the "love that dare not speak its name."

    Posted by: candideinnc | Mar 10, 2013 1:16:19 PM


  23. As Titular head of the Anglican Church, but not it's "Pope", actually using the word "GAY" could be overstepping her real authority re the "Church". However, it sets a president for the actual heads of the Church to act upon.

    Posted by: Jerry6 | Mar 10, 2013 1:38:46 PM


  24. For those that don't know, the British Commonwealth was created after WWII to prop up the old British Empire economic system. With the political collapse of the empire, they switched to economic interests, and used the Commonwealth treaties as a way of preserving British economic interests in these countries. They've done a lot better than the old French Empire, but political instability is still a huge problem in many of these countries, not the least because no local economies developed like they did in Asia after WWII. Instead, we had the export of commodity resources by foreign companies type economies.

    When British politicians talk about foreign aid to Africa, what they are really talking about is bailing out British companies that do business there. It's an ongoing scandal and it greatly retards economic and social development on almost the entire continent.

    Posted by: anon | Mar 10, 2013 1:39:45 PM


  25. ANON -

    So saith the CWP?

    Posted by: David Hearne | Mar 10, 2013 2:14:15 PM


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