In what is being heralded as a watershed moment for LGBT rights in the UK and across the world, Queen Elizabeth II is set to ink a new charter against discrimination, leading many observers to believe she is entering the foray on the side of gay rights.
The Queen is to sign the charter on Monday in a public show of support. For many, it is a step on a symbolic path to equal rights for people across the British Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth Charter states opposition to “all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, color, creed, political belief or other grounds.”
This is seen as tacit approval of anti-discrimination laws for the LGBT community, which has angered some hardliners in the UK, who have called for the Queen to remain outside the political discussion on LGBT issues.
“This is believed to be the first time she’s shown her support of gay rights. That’s a big step,” ABC News royal contributor Victoria Arbiter said.
While signing the charter will not change the face of the Commonwealth immediately, it sets the stage for reform in many of the countries across the world where being gay is still illegal and jail times are present.
Of the 54 British Commonwealth countries, homosexuality is against the law in 41 nations.