The charter includes affirmations on democracy, human rights, international peace and security. It also contains a commitment to “gender equality” and “women’s empowerment”. This is seen as a step forward for gay rights, a huge deal considering that several of the Queen’s Commonwealth nations disapprove of – and strongly punish – homosexuality.
“Women’s empowerment” refers to the endorsement of new legislation ending discrimination against women in the line of succession to the British throne. During the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) last year, the Queen made the move to allow her female heirs equal access to the throne. If the first child for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge is a daughter, that child cannot be supplanted by a younger brother.
Without getting dragged into political activism over gay rights, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said that “the Queen, as in all matters, is apolitical but is signing the document in her capacity as head of the Commonwealth.”
- Queen set to sign new charter backing equal rights for women and gay people (independent.co.uk)
- Queen Elizabeth II to sign rights charter (rappler.com)