Queen Elizabeth Makes Historic First Statement Supporting LGBT Rights

queen elizabethWith apologies to President Obama, it doesn’t get bigger than this: On Sunday, Queen Elizabeth II will make a historic first public statement supporting LGBT rights and gender equity.

The Queen, who is famously apolitical, will address the issues tomorrow when she signs a new Commonwealth Charter aimed at ending discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation.

It’s part of a wider campaign by the British government to addresses civil-rights abuses in former British colonies. (Prime Minister David Cameron has threatened to suspend aid to countries with laws against gay people, as he already has against Malawi, where homosexual acts can land you in jail for up to 14 years.)

The Daily Mail says royal experts call the move a “watershed moment”—the first time she’s in a reign that’s lasted 61 years and counting.

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.

Deferring to draconian anti-gay laws? Isn’t that the whole reason this pledge needs to be made in the first place? We hope Liz can at least get into specifics when gives her accompanying speech, which will be televised.

“The impact of this statement on sex_pistols_god_save_the_queen_wallpaper-othergay and women’s rights should not be underestimated,” one insider tells the Mail. “Nothing this progressive has ever been approved by the United Nations. And it is most unusual for the Queen to request to sign documents in public, never mind call the cameras in.”

Experts say the Queen’s support for the charter signals her approval to changes in the rules of accession that will allow a first-born daughter from William and Kate to take the throne. (Wonder if she’d be okay with it if the royal tyke was a lesbian?)

“This is the first time that the Queen has publicly acknowledged the importance of the 6% of her subjects who are gay,” said Ben Summerskill of the British LGBT group Stonewall. “Some of the worst persecution of gay people in the world takes place in Commonwealth countries as a result of the British Empire.”

It’s not a pretty legacy: Same-sex acts are still illegal in 41 of the 54 Commonwealth nations, with penalities ranging from fines and jail time to life imprisonment and capital punishment.

Photos: NASA, Ibagli



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  • Chad Hunt

    Sometimes it just takes a “Queen”.

  • Shadeaux


  • Caleb in SC

    To borrow a phrase from the disability rights movement: “Nothing about us without us.” If we cannot even be named, then we are still nothing in her eyes. This is a bullshit announcement.

  • viveutvivas

    “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.”


  • Superman

    OMG. I thought that was my Aunt Margaret from planet Xenon on her brooch.

  • tidalpool

    Silly girls, any ‘tyke’ of Kate and William’s will have a loving stable home, no chance of that ‘tyke’ being a lesbian.

  • Daniel-Reader

    Not seeing anything groundbreaking about this at all. Count the number of people in government around the world violating human rights (subtract the government officials who uphold human rights), now count the number of people around the world experiencing human rights violations. Now the people experiencing human rights violations should vote on the punishment for government officials who violate human rights, since the people experiencing human rights violations vastly outnumber the government officials perpetuating them (you can throw in the religious leaders violating human rights too for good measure).

  • John Doe

    I just love how all of these politicians are jumping on the “LGBT equality” express train now that it is more politically safe to do so. Instead of it being “taboo” to support equality…. it is now “taboo” to not support equality. THUS, politicians are following polls and trends…. not following the Constitution and principle.

    Obama, Clinton, almost every politician in Washington DC….. each of them “evolved” as LGBT equality became more acceptable. HOWEVER, the US Constitution never changed. This whole time we’ve been living under the Equal Protection Clause and up until the last few years there were people like Obama and Hilary saying that they support “traditional” marriage. They were ignoring the Constitution and only now are they willing to step out and endorse full equality. How mature of them to “evolve” now that it is politically popular and safe to do so.

    We have almost NO real leaders in this country when it comes to LGBT equality. I’d really like to know what politicians took RISKS in coming out for FULL equality before it was politically safe to do so. Even Obama waited until after this past election before he completely evolved on this topic. It’s all politics. All of it. SAD. This is nothing like the black civil rights movement when we had politicians that actually took huge risks and put their jobs on the line for taking a stand on civil rights and equality.

  • erikwm

    @John Doe: We’re winning. Why can’t you be happy?!

  • sfbeast

    I had heard previously that the Queen has been quite homophobic, never visiting LGBT facilities the way she goes to other places. Diana was the first one to change that. And unless the actual wording is changed to specifically include gays and lesbians, this doesn’t seem to be much of an improvement.

  • Cam

    “”Deferring to draconian anti-gay laws? Isn’t that the whole reason this pledge needs to be made in the first place? We hope Liz can at least get into specifics when gives her accompanying speech, which will be televised.”


    Thank you Queerty! This may be something big for women’s rights but I fail to see how it is at all meaningful for gay rights when they REMOVED THE REFERENCES TO GAYS out of deference to the bigoted sensibilities of the other countries.

  • jwrappaport

    Am I missing something? There is not a single reference to gay equality in the text of the Charter excerpted above. Far from it – explicit references are said to have been deliberately left out so as not to alienate regimes that reject such equality. To call this historic is insulting, considering that our love is apparently still that which dare not speak its name.

    The meaning of the words excerpted is abundantly clear: it’s not fashionable enough for the Queen to support gay equality, so she does it without really doing it. Indeed, such a non-statement makes Obama’s “coming out” look astonishingly bold by comparison. Perhaps the Queen’s address will have a different tone, though I am sceptical [sic].

  • alexoloughlin

    She’s not the elected Prime Minister of England who has said more than enough about LGBT rights both at home and abroad and who is responsible for the equal marriage legislation currently pending. Aside fom upsetting the ‘sensibilities’ of anti-gay commonwealth countries by the inclusion of ‘other grounds’ which probably does infer LGBT rights, she is also the supreme governor of the Church of England. I suspect that had something to do with the wording.

  • Cam


    Then the papers shouldn’t be touting it as a huge deal on gay rights.

  • fagburn

    You’re very trusting about how the Daily Mail has reported this, and what unnamed “experts” and “insiders” have supposedly told them, Queerty…

  • alexoloughlin

    @Cam: It’s the Daily Mail, spinning it out of orbit. It’s prone to sensationalism. lies and smear tactics every chance it gets when something positive about LGBT rights comes to the forefront. It’s similar to New York News Day, same owner, Murdoch. Bryan Fischer on this side of the pond is even saying the Queen is signing a bill tomorrow authorizing active and excessive discrimination against christians. It’s the same m.o. Take everything the Daily Mail says with a grain of salt, ditto the Telegraph.

  • alexoloughlin

    @fagburn: Exactly right. The Daily Mail and Telegraph combined are nothing more than yellow journalistic rags which seldom print the truth about anything decent especially relating to LGBT issues.

  • the other Greg

    @alexoloughlin: You mean the New York Post (not Newsday) – Murdoch.

  • Dan Avery

    @John Doe: I agree with your larger point, but this is the Queen of England—so the Constitution and American politics are not involved.

    Dan Avery

  • viveutvivas

    Really, Queerty, in whose alternative reality is this good news?: “specific reference to ‘gays and lesbians’ was omitted in deference to Commonwealth countries with draconian anti-gay laws.”

  • jwrappaport

    @Dan Avery: This is true, but our American Constitution is heavily imbued with English history, culture, and law. Moreover, much of the contemporary discourse on gay rights can be traced to English/British philosophers: Locke, Bentham, Mill – to name just a few. I think the comparison between the US and our brothers in arms across the pond is apt given how much we share with them, but more importantly given the similar trajectory of gay rights in both countries recently (although we ‘murricans are a tad slower).

    @John Doe: Agreed mostly, but your view of the Constitution is a bit romantic. Equal Protection means what at least five of nine robed justices say it means. It has no absolute meaning and can be (and often is) twisted by whoever is wearing the robes. You and I clearly share the view that the spirit of the Constitution demands gay equality, but to say that such a view has always been hidden (and ignored) in the text and simply remains there to be discovered is a hard argument to win, I think.

    Risk aversion is almost built into any republican system: why would a politician put his neck on the line for the few when it will gain him little political capital with the many? Courage as we would likely define it just isn’t rewarded in a republic, which is why it has always been in short supply in most levels of government.

  • Dehreeus

    :/ @ name dropping Obama. At least he explicitly supported LGBT rights which is more than what this shit does.

    the Prime Minister > the Queen anyway.

  • Ottoman

    So the queen is afraid to offend her subjects in countries she allegedly owns? If she can’t lay down the mother effen law in her own realm, what good is she?

  • 2eo

    @Ottoman: As an ardent [and I loathe to use the word on an Americentric site, it isn’t the same thing] Republican*, there are loads of us in Britain who don’t believe in the German descended monarchy, many of us think it’s archaic and fundamentally useless and detrimental to our system to have them at all.

    This is without my utter loathing of the church of England and everything it represents in holding back our culture, art, education, engineering and everything inbetween.

    Sadly with the Olympics, and the new rise of the rights love of the military complex and the lack of spine from the BBC and other proper media in standing against it, anything deviating from monarchist militarism is a source for hatred and accusations of treason.

    Sadly, someone like me who loves my country is shouted down by the people who spit in the faces of those who fought for our freedom every minute of every day, rendering their sacrifices on a pyre of ritualistic neo-fascism and pretending it is pride, instead of what it really is.

    * Seriously, I mean seriously as in the literal use of that word.

  • fagburn

    @Ottoman: As far as I’m aware thus far there is no evidence that references to “sexuality” were omitted so as not to offend countries with “draconian anti-gay laws” apart from this piece in the notoriously unreliable Mail.
    It could have been taken out by a diplomat who thought it might embarrass “her majesty”, for example…

  • Brian

    The Queen is pandering to homophobes by failing to mention us. She’s a gutless cow.

  • alexoloughlin

    @the other Greg: Yes, thanks for correcting me. It is the NY Post. Interestingly, the editorship of New York News Day didn’t support marriage equality in NYS in 2011.

  • jar

    This is just tripe from the royalist mill. The queen is an embarrassment, but only less so than the many Britons who worship the throne. This is a country where its people are still subjects of the queen!

  • jar

    @Dan Avery: But you are the one who injected Obama, hence America, into the piece. There was no need (or basis on which) to state that the queen’s forthcoming speech is bigger than Obama’s public endorsement of gay rights. The fact that this story is logically inconsistent (endorsement of gay rights, while declining to include gay rights in the charter; exclusion decided in order not to offend those commonwealth countries with virulent anti-gay laws, see, eg, Jamaica) only compounds the idiocy of your statement.

  • longpastdue

    this is awesome, I just got back from the Bahamas which are needless to say very anti-gay and Queen Elizabeth II still happens to be on their money so I think this will make a big difference.

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