Following various petitions and protests from many groups urging the British Prime Minister to apologise for the UK’s anti-gay colonial laws, Theresa May told 53 leaders of various commonwealth states at their annual summit, that she “deeply regrets” the laws. May said the laws were wrong then and are wrong now.
They were passed during the British rule and 37 of the commonwealth states still impose the laws; with some having stricter penalties like the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act in Nigeria.
Belize and the Seychelles repealed the law in 2016.
She also urged the Commonwealth nations to overhaul “outdated”, colonial-era legislation that treats members of the LGBT community as criminals.
“As a family of nations we must respect one another’s cultures and traditions. But we must do so in a manner consistent with our common value of equality, a value that is clearly stated in the Commonwealth charter.” May said in her address. “There remains much to do. Nobody should face persecution or discrimination because of who they are or who they love. And the UK stands ready to support any Commonwealth member wanting to reform outdated legislation that makes such discrimination possible.”
Here are some reactions from Twitter
So @theresa_may regrest the colonial anti-homosexual laws put in place by #Britan across the #Commonwealth. I guess it is time to throw a party and rejoice as everything will be back to normal again. I mean, she just used her magic wand, yay!!! #CHOGM2018 pic.twitter.com/Ux3tKv6ulI
— Ashiwaju Bisi Alimi (@bisialimi) April 17, 2018
— African Equality Foundation (@AfricanEqualit1) April 16, 2018
Congratulations (and thanks) to everyone that worked so hard to make this happen!
— All Out (@AllOut) April 17, 2018
Theresa May expresses ‘deep regret’ for UK’s imposition of homophobic laws on other nations during the colonial era. Her statement is a historic landmark acknowledgement of a past wrong. READ @PeterTatchell‘s analysis: https://t.co/p2z8RBNNp7 #CommonEquality #CHOGM2018 #CWpeople pic.twitter.com/Slx4u1IMdM
— Peter Tatchell Fdn (@PT_Foundation) April 17, 2018
36 out of 53 Commonwealth countries criminalise LGBT people. Join the rally for LGBT equality in the Commonwealth on Thursday 19 April 1-2pm outside Commonwealth HQ London SW1Y 5HX. Protest details: https://t.co/kL1DkP1FA5 #CommonEquality #CHOGM2018 pic.twitter.com/WvOUtff3j9
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) April 17, 2018
Join the rally for LGBT equality in the Commonwealth on Thursday 19 April 1-2pm outside Commonwealth HQ London SW1Y 5HX. 36 out of 53 Commonwealth countries criminalise LGBT people. Protest details: https://t.co/R5KXzF3z5P #CommonEquality #CHOGM2018 #CWpeople pic.twitter.com/W8gfT4LR3G
— Ian McKellen (@IanMcKellen) April 18, 2018