Australia is leading the charge among Commonwealth nations–a group of 52 countries, most of which were once under British rule–to legalize homosexuality. Homosexuality is illegal in at least 40 of these countries. Spearheaded by Aussie PM Kevin Rudd, the issue will be discussed for the first time at the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting this week, held in Perth.
British LGBT activist Peter Tatchell has called the Commonwealth a “bastion of global homophobia” and complained in May that its Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma, persistently fails to condemn anti-gay violence and “seems to regard the issue as an embarrassment and a distraction.” In September, he called upon the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting to address the issue in detail.
It will be interesting to see what happens if some sort of declaration or program of action is adopted. I doubt it would be binding, but leaders in Uganda, Cameroon, and other hellish countries in which to be born gay will no doubt express fiery opinions, further embarrassing themselves in the eyes of the world.