Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Winter Olympics: NZ Parliament passes motion supporting gay rights in Russia

The closing ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics. File photo / Getty Images
The closing ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics. File photo / Getty Images

Parliament has unanimously passed a motion in support of gay rights in Russia ahead of the Winter Olympics.

Green MP Jan Logie moved that "the House wish our athletes competing in the Winter Olympics in Sochi well, and note Russia's recent passing of anti homosexual legislation, and ask the New Zealand Government to urge other governments and the Winter Olympics Organising Committee to protect the rights of all people in Russia regardless of their sexual orientation''.

Russia's anti-gay legislation has drawn severe criticism from international leaders, athletes and rights activists ahead of the Games, which begin on February 7.

Gay New Zealand speed skater Blake Skjellerup said last week he would not compete at next month's Games.

Skjellerup has been a vocal opponent of Russia's anti-gay law, which prohibits so-called propaganda in support of gay rights.

Afterwards Ms Logie said she was delighted that Parliament had agreed the motion, saying it may have been the first such motion passed by a national parliament.

"It makes me very proud that all parties in our Parliament backed this message of support, not only to our athletes heading to compete but also the gay and lesbian community in Russia who have been suffering hit after hit on their human rights,'' she said.

"Our Government can play a role in promoting the rights of LGBTI people in Russia and send a message around the world that everyone deserves to live safe lives regardless of their sexual orientation.''

Today is the last sitting day of the Parliament before the opening ceremony on February 8.

- NZ Herald

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