Over the weekend I saw this article in the Daily Mail about Queen Elizabeth making an historic statement in favor of gay rights.
There’s this quote from a “diplomatic source”: “The impact of this statement on gay and women’s rights should not be underestimated. 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.”
And there’s this quote from what appears to be a prominent UK LGBT activist: “This is the first time that the Queen has publicly acknowledged the importance of the six per cent 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.”
So this sounds all great, another big step forward, until I get to the actual statement, from the Daily Mail …
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.
I guess each step forward has to be taken in its context. The British Monarchy is extremely hidebound. And there are a number of Commonwealth countries where homosexuality is illegal. But a vague inference seems pretty thin, no?
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.