A gay Norwegian minister has confirmed that he and his husband will be attending on behalf of Norway at the Sochi Paralympic Games.

Bent Høie, Minister for Health, confirmed he will be bringing his husband when he attends as Norway’s official representative to the Paralympic Games.

Speaking to the Stavanger Aftenblad newspaper, he said: “It’s natural to take [husband] Dag Terje along when attending this type of event. Having said that, everyone understands what two married men think about gay rights.”

“I cannot wait to watch and support all the Norwegian athletes.”

Bard Nylund, president of the Norwegian LGBT Association, called on Høie to actively challenge his Russian counterparts on gay rights.

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

Norwegian politicians will attend both the Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi, despite the decision of many other countries not to send high-profile representatives.

US President Barack ObamaFrench President Francois Hollande and German President Joachim Gaucki have all declined to attend the games, as has EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding, who cited concerns about the country’s poor gay rights record.

Princess Anne and Culture Secretary Maria Miller are attending on behalf of the UK.

The Winter Olympics open in Sochi this Friday, and the Paralympics on 7 March.