Parliament backs gay rights in Russia
New Zealand's Parliament has unanimously passed a motion in support of gay rights in Russia.
The motion was put to the House by Green Party MP Jan Logie today in response to the passage of new anti-gay legislation in Russia.
The new law bans the distribution of information about homosexuality to children. It has drawn widespread global criticism with the eyes of the world on Russia ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, which start on February 8.
Logie asked the House to wish New Zealand's athletes 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".
Logie said later she was "delighted" to be able to send a message of support to the gay community, making New Zealand's the first national parliament to do so.
"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."
The New Zealand Government could play a role in promoting the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Russia "and send a message around the world that everyone deserves to live safe lives regardless of their sexual orientation", Logie said.
"The Winter Olympics in Sochi has given us the opportunity to tell the Russian Government that we are all watching and that their attacks on the human rights of gay and lesbian people will not be ignored or forgotten."