Queen expected to sign historic equal rights charter
Published Sunday, March 10, 2013 5:28PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, March 11, 2013 10:27AM EDT
Queen Elizabeth II is expected to sign a historic Commonwealth charter on Monday that pledges symbolic support for gender equality and gay rights.
According to reports, the Queen will mark Commonwealth Day at a special ceremony, where she will sign a document that outlines the values of the 54 member states with regard to overarching protection of human rights.
According to Britain’s The Daily Mail, the charter states: “We are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other grounds.”
Some reports are interpreting “other grounds” as support for gay rights in particular, though it is not explicit in the charter’s wording.
The document is being viewed by royal watchers as a sign the Queen, now in her 61st year of reign, is shifting to a more progressive tone.
“Everything you’ve heard from people at Clarence House and at Buckingham Palace (is that) in particular, she cares deeply about the gender equality and opportunities for women, and in particular, education for young girls,” royal commentator Bonnie Brownlee told CTV News Channel on Sunday.
Buckingham Palace is generally apolitical, Brownlee said, and the Queen is approaching the charter’s creation in a diplomatic fashion.
“She hasn’t really put herself into any hot water -- it’s a historic pledge that she is making to people that are facing any form of discrimination in the Commonwealth countries and basically, around the world,” Brownlee said.
Diplomats have said that the Charter takes a more explicit stance than anything the United Nations has put forth in declaring protections for equal rights, Brownlee said.
In a statement released Sunday ahead of Commonwealth Day, Gov. Gen. David Johnston said for the first time, the charter brings together Commonwealth citizens’ values and aspirations in one accessible document.
“Democracy, human rights, the rule of law, fundamental freedoms, peace, prosperity -- we have all expressed our desire and our commitment to these ideals,” he said. “It is now our duty, as members of the Commonwealth, to improve the lives of our people, and to make ours a smarter, more caring world.”
According to The Telegraph, the Queen is expected to sign the charter in a televised ceremony at Marlborough House on London’s Pall Mall.