Commonwealth Day: Queen Elizabeth Supports Gender Equality, Gay Rights?

Tuesday, 12 Mar 2013 11:52 AM

By Megan Anderle

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Queen Elizabeth made history Monday evening when she signed a new charter on Commonwealth Day, asserting her support for gender equality and alluding to gay rights.

“We recognize that gender equality and women’s empowerment are essential components of human development and basic human rights,” the 16-point document said, which covers principles of democracy, rule of law, freedom of expression, and gender equality for 54 member states, according to MSNBC.

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The official statement, which is the first of its kind, makes it clear that the Queen supports new laws that give men and women equal rights, including equal access to the throne.
The new measure means that her great-grandchild, Prince William and Duchess Kate Middleton’s firstborn, will eventually reign regardless of the gender.

Many speculated that the document would address gay rights, but officials tip-toed around the topic by condemning discrimination as a whole.

“We are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, color, creed, political belief, of other grounds,” it said.

During a pre-recorded televised speech, the Queen emphasized the matter further, but never explicitly established her support for same-sex marriage.

“Our shared values of peace, democracy, development, justice and human rights – which are found in our new Commonwealth Charter – mean that we place special emphasis on including everyone in this goal, especially those who are vulnerable,” she said.

The Daily Mail reported that the queen “is aware of the implication of the charter’s implicit support of gay rights and commitment to gender equality.”

Out of 54 British Commonwealth countries, 13 of them consider same-sex marriage legal.
She signed the document at the Marlborough House in Central London.

Earlier in the day, Queen Elizabeth, 86, canceled an official engagement at Westminster Abbey, following her recent hospitalization with symptoms of gastroenteritis. Instead, her husband Prince Phillip attended the service at Westminster Abbey in place of his wife of 65 years.

Despite the cancellation, she is in good health and will attend other engagements later this week, a spokesperson told Reuters.

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Queen Elizabeth stayed in the hospital for three days last week, receiving treatment for a stomach bug. It was the first hospitalization in 10 years for the 86-year-old queen of England, who is known for her extremely busy schedule.

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