Opening speech Pride Park in Oslo

Rådhusplassen, Oslo, 25 June 2014

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Welcome to Oslo!

‘Rights are won only by those who make their voices heard,’ said Harvey Milk – the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California.

You make your voices heard. It’s hard to imagine what Europe would be like without your struggle for acceptance, equality and rights. You are the driving force behind the tremendous progress we have seen in the area of gay rights over the last few decades.

The efforts of many organisations, the commitment of individuals and cross-party unity on this issue have brought our society forward. In Norway we have a single Marriage Act for all, and we have anti-discrimination laws. Special attention is being paid to improving the situation for young gays and lesbians in towns and rural areas.

There is still a long way to go in many countries: We know of the difficulties and dangers faced by LGBT people in Uganda. We know about the brutality that Russian LGBT activists, and LGBT activists in many other countries, meet every day. We know of the struggle of LGBT people in most countries of the world. We all agree that we need to do our share to improve the situation.

That is why we need bold LGBT people to speak out. Without you, we will never have a society where ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights’, as is stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Keep on making your voices heard!

Pride Park is the main meeting place for people during EuroPride. Hundreds of volunteers have made this possible. In recent years more than 40 000 people have visited Pride Park, and I am sure there will be even more this year. I hope you enjoy the shows and the concerts on offer here over the next days.

I wish you every success with EuroPride 2014 and I hereby declare Pride Park officially opended.

Thank you.