Amber Rudd has announced the UK will spend more than £5m to try and encourage Commonwealth countries to reform archaic anti-LGBT laws.
The Home Secretary gave the announcement during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London this week, after Prime Minister Theresa May called for a reform in the laws.
Rudd said: “The anti-LGBT laws in some Commonwealth countries are a legacy of Britain’s colonial past.
“The UK Prime Minister made clear on Tuesday that we have some deep regrets about Britain’s historical legacy of anti-gay laws across the Commonwealth.
“We recognise our social responsibility, as well as being the right thing to do, to promote LGBT equality in the UK and in the Commonwealth.
“We’re going to stand ready to support any Commonwealth member wanting to reform their outdated legislation that makes discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity possible.
“I’m pleased to announced we will provide £5.6m for a programme to support LGBT and gender equality, working with organisations including the Kaleidoscope Trust, the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Human Dignity Trust and Sisters for Change to support the reform of the laws.
“Getting the laws right is such an important part of ending the sort of discrimination that we have seen.”
Currently it is still illegal to be gay in 36 of the 53 member states and the issue was raised by Olympic diver Tom Daley who – after winning gold at the recent games – called upon leaders to change the laws placed in the Colonial British era.
More than 100,000 people signed a petition for the laws to be reformed and during her speech, Rudd added the UK’s change of attitude showed that change is possible.
“When we look particularly at equal marriage, where some African church representatives are so against them, that is a recent cultural change in many African countries, which gives me hope that we can help change it,” she added.