In a rare mention of LGBT equality, Queen Elizabeth II has vowed that Britain will not back down on LGBT rights, despite Brexit.
The British monarch made the commitment during her speech on Wednesday in parliament, outlining the government’s plans for the next two years, following the recent elections.
The poll led to Theresa May’s Conservative Party humiliatingly losing its parliamentary majority, forcing it to try to form a coalition with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) from Northern Ireland.
The DUP, which has links to the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, a fundamentalist church, has a history of opposing LGBT rights, including rejecting same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.
There were concerns that this awkward relationship and Britain’s pending exit from the EU (and, as a result, the EU’s human rights laws) could see LGBT equality and other rights being watered down.
The Queen however, promised, on behalf of the British government, that this would not be the case.
“My government will make further progress to tackle the gender pay gap and discrimination against people on the basis of their race, faith, gender, disability or sexual orientation,” she announced in the House of Lords.
LGBT rights group Stonewall told PinkNews it was “pleased to hear a clear acknowledgment that more must be done to tackle discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the next two years, alongside other forms of discrimination” but was concerned “that no mention was made of tackling discrimination based on gender identity”.
The organisation added: “As we leave the EU, we need concrete guarantees that our human rights will be protected in the future; and it’s vital that any deal with the DUP to support the government’s programme does not water down its commitment to make progress on fighting discrimination and securing equality for all LGBT people.”
Wednesday’s speech was written by May’s government and read out by the Queen, who rarely makes any overt personal references to the LGBT community.
In 2014, however, she expressed her support for an LGBT charity; congratulating the London Lesbian & Gay Switchboard on its 40th birthday.