As widley publicised, Queen Elizabeth II has signed a new Charter for the Commonwealth, a document created to define the core values of its member states and one that many have interpreted as an endorsement of gay rights. It was the 86-year-old's first official engagement since leaving hospital where she was treated for the norovirus stomach bug last week.
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’ phrase is apparently intended to refer to sexuality – but specific references to ‘gays and lesbians’ were omitted in deference to Commonwealth countries with draconian anti-gay laws. Sources close to the Royal Household said she is aware of the implications of the charter’s implicit support of gay rights and commitment to gender equality.
Fact 1: 41 of 54 Commonwealth nations, including Uganda, Singapore, Jamaica and Malaysia still crminialise homosexuality.
Fact 2: The Queen has often spoken approvingly of the UK’s many races and faiths. But she has ignored LGBT Britons for all 61 years of her reign.
Fact 3: The Queen did not draft the charter herself or have a say in its wording.
Fact 4: Despite the progress on gay rights in the UK, the phrase that the supposed gay rights declaration hinges on, "other grounds," is non-specific and could as easily refer to Commonwealth citizens who are obese or ginger-haired or myopic.
Lustralboy welcomes any progress towards equality for gays anywhere in the world. But we strongly question whether this charter qualifies for our applause. Maybe the most it deserves is an award for Palace P R Spin.
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