Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the US House of Representatives, gave a powerful message of support for her UK counterpart John Bercow at the 2019 PinkNews Awards.
Nancy Pelosi praised the outgoing speaker of the UK House of Commons for his “instrumental” voice and values in the fight for LGBT+ rights.
In a pre-recorded message, she gave her “warm greetings” to LGBT+ advocates and leaders at the seventh annual PinkNews Awards, with special congratulations to Bercow on his work on behalf of the LGBT+ community.
“For nearly two decades, tonight’s Special Award recipient has been a steadfast ally and a committed fighter in the struggle to end discrimination and honour the dignity and worth of every human being,” she said.
“His voice and values have been instrumental in repealing anti-LQBTQ laws and in the outrageous ban on patriotic LGBTQ service members and advancing inclusive, diverse schools and workplaces that strengthen our communities.”
She continued: “Despite this progress we all know that our work remains incomplete, but our march towards justice and equality will not be deterred. Hatred will never defeat love and pride.
“For all of his work to build a brighter future for the LGBTQ community in the United Kingdom and across the globe, it is an honour to congratulate tonight’s special award recipient, my friend, speaker John Bercow.”
Bercow gave effusive thanks to Nancy Pelosi, who he described as a close friend and “a great person, motivated by the spirit of public service”.
He accepted the award “on behalf of all parliamentarians across the board who have blazed a trail for equality,” and urged the audience not to “relent or slacken the pace or become complacent, because yes, we’ve made progress, but there’s so much more to do”.
👏🏳️🌈 Important statement from Mr Speaker on anti-LGBT protests at schools: “You can’t appease bigots” pic.twitter.com/dtDwkATajE
— Jamie Ali (@JamieAli_) July 16, 2019
Bercow will be stepping down as Speaker on October 31. Although the holder of the office of speaker is required to be politically independent, he repeatedly stood up for LGBT+ rights during his decade in the prominent role.
In 2002 he famously defied a three-line Conservative whip to vote in favour of allowing adoption for unmarried or same-sex couples.
The party line was that such a reform would be against children’s interests, but Bercow instead chose to align with Labour on the vote, later resigning as shadow work and pensions minister in protest.
He has helped launch two LGBT+ charities – Diversity Role Models, which is aimed at tackling homophobic bullying in schools, and Kaleidoscope Trust, a nonprofit organisation that campaigns for LGBT+ people abroad.
And his official coat of arms bears rainbows, pink triangles and the words “All are equal” to reflect his ongoing support of LGBT+ rights. This now forms part of the Parliamentary Art Collection.
This seventh annual PinkNews Awards was sponsored by Amazon, and took place at Church House, headquarters of the Church of England.