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British PM Theresa May Calls Anti-Gay Commonwealth Laws 'Wrong'

Simon Dawson/Pool Photo via AP
Simon Dawson/Pool Photo via AP

“Nobody should face persecution or discrimination because of who they are or who they love."

British Prime Minister Theresa May spoke this morning at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London, and called for reform of anti-gay laws prevalent throughout the Commonwealth countries.

The Commonwealth of Nations consists of 53 member states, mostly former territories of the British Empire, and includes countries such as India, Canada, South Africa, Pakistan, and Australia.

May explained to the other 52 leaders of the Commonwealth nations that she "deeply regrets" Britain's history of homophobic legislation, and called on her fellow heads of state to reform. 37 Commonwealth countries still use Britain's anti-gay colonial-era laws.

Related | WTF is Going On in Theresa May's Pride Video?

"Nobody should face persecution or discrimination because of who they are or who they love," May explained in The Guardian's report, continuing: "I am all too aware that these laws were often put in place by my own country. They were wrong then, and they are wrong now. As the UK's prime minister, I deeply regret both the fact that such laws were introduced, and the legacy of discrimination, violence and even death that persists today."

The pronunciation of regret is a big deal and could go a long way toward legislative reform across the Commonwealth. Activist Peter Tatchell said "This statement of regret cannot be easily dismissed and disparaged by Commonwealth heads of government. The prime minister's regret for Britain's imposition of anti-gay laws valuably reframes the LGBT issue in a way that it is likely to provoke less hostility in Commonwealth countries," The Guardianreports.

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