Two women from the Australian women's hockey team may have captured the selfie of the year.
Queen Elizabeth II Hub
Queen Elizabeth II has gone the entirety of her reign without any involvement in LGBT charities nor voiced support of equal rights. All of that has now changed as she surprised London Lesbian & Gay Switchboard on their 40th anniversary with a message of congratulations, saying, “Best wishes and congratulations to all concerned on this most special anniversary.”
Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, London Mayor Johnson, and Labour leader Ed Miliband all added their voices of support as well to the organization, Cameron saying,
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the London Lesbian & Gay Switchboard on reaching its 40th anniversary.
Since 1974 there has been real progress towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. Voluntary organisations, such as the Switchboard, have made a vital contribution to that progress. The government continues to work to create a fairer and more equal society by removing the barriers to equality that LGBT people face.
The Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to a son weighing in at eight pounds six ounces. The birth of Queen Elizabeth II's first great-grandson was announced first via press release and then, as anticipated, on a proclamation set forth on a gilded easel in the courtyard of Buckingham Palace, the same easel first used to announce the birth of the baby's father, Prince William, in 1982. The New York Times reports:
“Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son at 4:24 today,” the statement proclaimed, nearly five hours after the actual birth. “Her royal highness and the child are both doing well.”
Prince Charles, said he and his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, were "overjoyed" at the good news. A spokesman for the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh added that they were "delighted."
The Duchess and the young Prince of Cambridge are expected to stay in hospital overnight. We may not get our first glimpse of the new prince until tomorrow morning. Congratulations to the happy parents!
Watch a video of the proclamation being brought out AFTER THE JUMP...
Queen Elizabeth II gave royal assent to the marriage equality bill that cleared UK Parliament this week, ensuring that it will become law, the AP reports:
House of Commons Speaker John Bercow told lawmakers that the royal assent had been given Wednesday — the day after the bill to legalize same-sex marriage in England and Wales cleared Parliament. The queen’s approval was a formality. It clears the way for the first gay marriages next summer.
Gay couples will have the freedom to marry in England and Wales.
The UK marriage equality bill, which was given its final approval in the upper House of Lords yesterday, has now been sent to Queen Elizabeth II for royal assent, a final step that is little more than a formality. With her signature, the bill is expected to become law later this week, BBC news reports:
It is expected that the first gay and lesbian wedding ceremonies will take place by summer next year.
Under the terms of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, religious organizations will have to "opt in" to offering weddings, with the Church of England and Church of Wales being banned in law from doing so.
MPs decided not to oppose a number of minor changes agreed by the House of Lords.
Among these were protections for transgender couples, which will allow people to change sex and remain married.
The Guardian's Patrick Strudwick puts the kibosh on the Mail on Sunday's weekend headline that started a snowball of proclamations (here, included) that Queen Elizabeth II was coming out for gay rights:
Fighting for gay rights? The Queen won't even mention them. She dare not speak our name – that is, if you believe she is even referring to gay people; if you buy the newspaper's inference that "other grounds" denotes an "implicit support of gay rights".
Let us assume it does mean that, and that Stonewall's assumption is correct. How does keeping ma'am about a minority help? Jesus never mentioned homosexuality – has that dissuaded many of his followers that "love thy neighbour" does not in fact mean: "as long as his partner's not called Steve"?
No, to refrain from specification is to collude with silence, the Grand Pause that keeps lesbians and gay men invisible, suffocating in marriages of inconvenience or trapped in police cells...
...The Mail on Sunday's splash is to be applauded, given its apparent heralding of a more liberal stance for the paper, an intriguing contrast to the Daily Mail. But this charter isn't a fight for gay rights, it's a vague whisper muffled by the screams of gay people awaiting the noose.
If only the alleged intention were expressed explicitly, unequivocally. Most Commonwealth nations, injected by our colonial laws and Old Testament homophobia in the first place, need it. Desperately.
Longtime activist Peter Tatchell agrees:
She's made no such explicit commitment and not used any such words.
Indeed, in her 61 years on the throne, the Queen has never publicly uttered the words lesbian or gay. She is a patron of hundreds of charities but none of them are gay ones. Not once has she visited or supported a gay charity.
For the last four years, I've been pressing Buckingham Palace over the Queen's failure to acknowledge the existence of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people - and got nowhere.
Not surprisingly, the Commonwealth Charter does not include any specific rejection of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This was vetoed by the homophobic majority of member states. They blocked its inclusion.
This makes the Queen's charter signing even less of a big deal. It is certainly not the breakthrough for LGBT rights that some people are claiming.
Nevertheless, it is true that some Commonwealth Secretariat officials interpret the charter wording that rejects discrimination on 'other grounds' as including a rejection of anti-gay discrimination. It is claimed that this catch-all phrase was inserted to circumvent the objections of homophobic Commonwealth countries. Possibly.