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Norway’s Health Minister to take husband to Paralympics in Sochi

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

OSLO — Norway’s most high-profile openly gay politician will attend the Paralympic Games in Russia with his husband, despite the controversy surrounding Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law.

Bent Hoie (left) and his husband, Dag Terje Solvang.

Bent Hoie (left) and his husband, Dag Terje Solvang, at Oslo Pride in June 2013.

Health Minister Bent Hoie said Monday he would bring his husband, Dag Terje Solvang, a senior advertising executive, to Sochi, Russia, when he attends the Paralympics, which will be held in March following the main Winter Olympic Games.

“I cannot wait to watch and support all the Norwegian athletes,” Hoie told the Stavanger Aftenblad newspaper. “These are athletes with disabilities who perform at a very high level.”

Hoeie said it is normal for a cabinet official to travel with a spouse on such an official visit.

“It’s natural to take Dag Terje along when attending this type of event,” he said. “Having said that, everyone understands what two married men think about gay rights.”

Bard Nylund, the leader of the Norwegian LGBT Association, called on Hoie to make a statement on gay rights.

“He should say something explicitly to his Russian colleagues if he gets the opportunity during his visit to Sochi,” Nylund said. “That much should be expected.”

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Hoie’s announcement comes following a nearly seven month global campaign by LGBT rights activists calling for a boycott of the Winter Olympics over passage of Russia’s anti-gay laws.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said publicly that the law is intended to protect young people and not discriminate against gays.

But many western leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron have declined to attend, and are instead sending lower level officials in their place. The U.S. is sending three openly gay athletes as part of its delegation.

Gay rights activists claim that Russia’s anti-gay law has contributed to an increase in anti-LGBT violence in Russia, casting a shadow over the $50 billion games.

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Filed under: Europe, Olympics

17 more reader comments:

  1. Putin’s head’s going to “Explode”.. :) I hope God puts a HUGE Rainbow in the heavens the duration of the games.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 12:27am
  2. Nice! Norway is like russia, I dare you to fuck with us. GOOD JOB norway!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 12:28am
  3. I love that damn country.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 12:31am
  4. :)

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 12:35am
  5. YOU GO GUYS! xx

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 12:37am
  6. Love you Norway. The Olympics are the perfect time to show just how awful Russia has become for equality. To show the people who don’t already know what’s happening. In other words the spot light’s on Russia and Putin’s shitting his pants

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 12:53am
  7. Awwwwww

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 1:03am
  8. have fun

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 1:29am
  9. Hope they have a safe visit! Good for them!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 1:46am
  10. congratulations…..<3

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 1:55am
  11. Putin in my language means to POKE…haha..POKE! POKE! POKE!…. KISS OUR GRITS Vladimir Putin :*

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 1:56am
  12. You go guys! Stick it to ‘em, stick it to ‘em, stick it to ‘em!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 2:04am
  13. brave duo

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 2:06am
  14. BOO!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 2:25am
  15. thank you Norway

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 2:51am
  16. Thank you for being so brave.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 3:27am
  17. Don’t go! Boycott! The terrorists will get you!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 3:37am