Speaking at a gathering of Commonwealth nations, the prime minister of the United Kingdom apologized for the establishment of anti-gay laws in the former colonies of the country.
The laws were passed under British rule and are still used in 37 of the Commonwealth’s 53 member nations.
“Nobody should face discrimination and persecution because of who they are or who they love,” Mrs May said in London as Commonwealth leaders gather for their summit, which is held every two years.
“The UK stands ready to support any Commonwealth nation wanting to reform outdated legislation that makes such discrimination possible.
May said: “I am all too aware that these laws were often put in place by my own country. They were wrong then, and they are wrong now. As the UK’s prime minister, I deeply regret both the fact that such laws were introduced, and the legacy of discrimination, violence and even death that persists today.
This year’s summit is officially hosting gay rights activists under the umbrella of the Commonwealth Equality Network.
The establishment of the laws is inextricably linked to the establishment of Church of England values in the colonies under British rule.
Map from BBC. A more detailed map, Sexual Orientation Laws in the World is available from the ILGA here.