20/03/2012 12:52 GMT | Updated 20/03/2012 12:56 GMT

John Bercow Promotes Gay Rights At 'Kaleidoscope' Queen's Jubilee Speech

John Bercow has used a speech introducing the Queen to praise the progress made in equal rights for women, ethnic minorities and gay people over the course of her 60 year reign.

"This is a land where men and women today are equal under the law and where Your people are respected, regardless of how they live, how they look or how they love," he said.

"This is a nation of many races, faiths and customs, now beginning to be reflected in Parliament. All this progress has occurred during Your reign."

He added: "You have become, to many of us, a kaleidoscope Queen of a kaleidoscope country in a kaleidoscope Commonwealth."

The Speaker is the the president of the Kaleidoscope Trust, a recently launched campaign organisation that lobbies for gay rights worldwide.

The trust has focused much of its attention on the continued persecution of gay men and women in Commonwealth countries, with many of the anti-gay laws a legacy of the British Empire.

Bercow's comments come as the government plans to bring in legislation to introduce gay marriage. A move opposed by some religious leaders and several backbench Tory MPs.