Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday urged all members of the Commonwealth of Nations that had made what she called outdated legislations against same-sex marriage to have a rethink.
May said this in London while addressing leaders at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan had in 2014 signed a bill outlawing gay relationships and same-sex marriage, putting the legislation to use months after it was passed by the National Assembly.
Under the law, anyone convicted for getting involved in gay relationship or entering into a same-sex marriage contract or civil union faces up to 14 years in jail.
But the British Prime Minister maintained that no one should enact any law persecuting or discriminating against another person on account of who the person chooses to love.
May said that the United Kingdom would support any nation ready revoke its anti-same sex law.
She argued that the world had moved from 50 years ago when people were dictated to, saying young persons today design their lifestyles as they like.
She recalled that the last Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting resolved to establish an organisation that would promote the interests of gays, lesbians, and transgenders.
May said: “Recent years have brought welcome progress. The three nations that have most recently decriminalised same-sex relationships are all Commonwealth members, and since the heads of government last met, the Commonwealth has agreed to accredit its first organisation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
“Yet 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 And the UK stands ready to support any Commonwealth member wanting to reform outdated legislation that makes such discrimination possible.
“Because the world has changed. When, in 1953, the newly-crowned Queen Elizabeth set off on a tour of the Commonwealth, she travelled by air, sea and land on a journey that took more than five months. Today, many members of the Youth Forum have only ever known a time in which they can instantly converse with one another regardless of where in the world they live.
“Unlike previous generations, today’s young people don’t need an organisation like the Commonwealth to connect them. They can build their own bridges, forge their own links, mastermind and run their own campaigns.
“If the Commonwealth is to endure in such a world, we must demonstrate our relevance and purpose anew. We must show what the Commonwealth is capable of. And this summit can be the moment where that change begins to happen.”
She disclosed that Britain was investing £44 million to improve member-states’ abilities to independently tackle natural disasters in their respective countries.
May said 90 percent of member-stated were affected by malaria which, according to her, kills about 445,000 people annually, saying her country remained committed to spending £500 million to fight malaria among member-nations in five years as earlier promised.
She said: “We are only meeting in London this week because of the devastation wrought on Vanuatu by Cyclone Pam in 2015. The impact of other recent extreme weather events in the Caribbean and Pacific have underlined the vulnerability of smaller states across the Commonwealth.
“So I am proud to say that the UK, long a supporter of such nations, is investing a further £44 million to help improve members’ ability to prepare for and deal with natural disasters of all kinds. It is an issue Prime Minister Holness and I have already spoken about this morning.
“But extreme weather is not the only threat our people face from nature. Today, some 90 per cent of Commonwealth citizens live in countries where malaria is endemic. Worldwide, the disease kills 445,000 people every year, many in the Commonwealth and most of them children. Malaria has a serious impact on the economies of countries it affects. The human cost is incalculable.
“We cannot talk to the young people of the world, talk about securing a legacy for our children and grandchildren, without tackling a disease that, worldwide, kills one of them every two minutes. That is why, this week, I will be calling on my fellow leaders to commit to halving malaria across the Commonwealth by 2023.
“It is an ambitious goal, but one that is firmly within our reach. Since the Commonwealth Heads of Government last met, Sri Lanka has been declared malaria-free. Malaysia is on-course to eliminate the disease by 2020. And, since the year 2000, global malaria deaths have been cut by more than 60 per cent – the result of a concerted effort by governments, civil society groups, and individuals alike.
“Bill, you and Melinda deserve particular praise for all the work you have done in the fight against this terrible disease. Your philanthropy has saved countless lives, and your tireless campaigning has kept the issue firmly on the global agenda, including at tomorrow’s Malaria Summit.
“The UK remains committed to its five-year pledge, made in 2016, to spend half a billion pounds a year tackling malaria. Over the next two years £100 million of that will be match-funded by partners in the private sector. I know other Commonwealth nations are also among the biggest funders of this global effort.”