Signed by the Queen, the Charter reads: âWe are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other grounds.â
The âother groundsâ clause in the charter is intended to refer to sexuality, however specific references to gay and lesbian people were reportedly omitted due to Commonwealth countries with anti-gay laws.
Ben Summerskill of Stonewall has told Pink News the Queen had taken âan historic step forwardâ on gay rights, and said âThe Palace has finally caught up with public opinion.â
However Guardian columnist Patrick Strudwick is underwhelmed. He writes:
âFighting for gay rights? The Queen won't even mention them. She dare not speak our name â that is, if you believe she is even referring to gay people; if you buy the newspaper's inference that âother groundsâ denotes an âimplicit support of gay rightsâ.â
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson has also now stated:
âIn this charter, the Queen is endorsing a decision taken by the Commonwealth.â But he added: âThe Queen does not take a personal view on these issues. The Queenâs position is apolitical, as it is on all matters of this sort.â
According to Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, 41 of the 54 Commonwealth states still criminalise homosexuality.
He told Sky News that while the charter could be considered a step forward it "does not include an explicit commitment to gay equality ... this was vetoed by the homophobic majority of member states."