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Queen Elizabeth II to sign new charter backing gay rights

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Queen ElizabethThe Queen will sign a new Commonwealth charter opposing discrimination suffered by women, gay people and ethnic minorities.

In a special ceremony to mark Commonwealth Day on Monday, she will also give a speech endorsing the new agreement which states signatories oppose “all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other grounds”.

The words “other grounds” are said to refer to sexuality however any specific references to gay people are not included to avoid antagonising Commonwealth countries that retain laws against homosexuals, according to the Mail on Sunday.

The charter is the first time the Commonwealth has had a single document setting out the "core values of the organisation and the aspiration of its members".

The document includes affirmations on democracy, human rights, international peace and security as well as freedom of expression. It also contains a commitment to "gender equality" and “women’s empowerment”.

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