Photo via The British Monarchy
On Monday, Her Majesty the Queen will sign a historic pledge to promote gender equality and gay rights in one of the "most controversial acts of her reign," as reported by the Daily Mail. 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.
In a live television broadcast, she will sign the new charter, which is designed to crush discrimination against gay people and promote the empowerment of women. The charter states: "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 meant to refer to sexuality, but a specific reference to gays and lesbians was not included in deference to Commonwealth countries with draconian anti-gay laws, the Daily stated. However, sources close to the Royal Household said the Queen is aware of the implications of the charter’s implicit support of gay rights and commitment to gender equality. She is expected to stress that the rights must "include everyone" in her upcoming speech.
Ben Summerskill, chief executive of UK gay and lesbian rights group Stonewall, said the Queen has taken "an historic step forward" on gay rights. He told the Daily, "This is the first time that the Queen has publicly acknowledged the importance of the 6% of her subjects who are gay. Some of the worst persecution of gay people in the world takes place in Commonwealth countries as a result of the British Empire."
"The Palace has finally caught up with public opinion," he added.