Norwegian Minister taking his husband to Sochi

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A gay Norwegian Minister and official representative for Norway at the Paralympics, Brent Høie, announced on February 4 that he plans to attend the Games with his husband.

The Sochi Paralympics will be held following the main Games.

Høie told the newspaper Stavanger Aftenblad that it was normal for a cabinet official to travel on official visits with a spouse.

“Having said that, everyone understands what two married men think about gay rights,” Høie added.

However, the Dutch King and Prime Minister have faced pressure to boycott the event; US President Barack Obama, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, and French President Francois Hollande are not attending the Games.

The calls for a boycott also follow recently soured Dutch-Russian relations, after senior diplomat Onno Elderenbosch from the Dutch Embassy was assaulted in Moscow. He was tied up and beaten in his own apartment; as if to make their motive clear, one of the attackers wrote the letters “LGBT” being written in lipstick on Elderenbosch’s hall mirror.

International outcry following Vladimir Putin’s introduction of the “homosexual propaganda law” in Russia, has led to a series of protests since June 2013. Gay activists continue to try and get official Olympic sponsors to speak out against the ban, though to no avail.

Gay activists say there has been a significant increase in homophobic violence and hate crimes in Russia since the ban, casting a shadow over the Winter Olympics.

Putin has continued to claim that the law is not intended to discriminate against homosexuals but rather to “protect Russia’s children.” He has also reiterated that gays are welcome at the Games.

Norway’s capital Oslo, known for its gay friendly attitude, is one of the potential hosts in the bids for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

429Magazine

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