Germany's Interior Minister Nancy Faeser has authorized the hoisting of the rainbow flag on public buildings, sparking an unprecedented controversy: how many more minority flags can fly next to the black-red-gold and also that of the European Union?
We are a modern and diverse country. It is time for state institutions to demonstrate this more clearly, Faeser argued as the Interior Ministry authorized hoisting the rainbow flag over federal government buildings on certain occasions, in solidarity with those who still experience exclusion.
The agency also said the flag must be linked to a specific date such as Pride marches or June 28, the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall uprisings in New York that gave impetus to the global LGBT+ movement. It will not be allowed to be flown on certain national holidays and other dates.
We want to put an end to discrimination against people because of their sexual identity in all areas of society, the minister also pointed out.
The rainbow flag is a universal symbol of LGBT+ pride. It was created in 1978 by U.S. designer Gilbert Baker at the request - very shortly before his assassination - of activist Harvey Milk, the first openly gay U.S. official. The first rainbow flag premiered on Gay Liberation Day in San Francisco in June 1978, but its status as a universal symbol began to be established after the appearance of a mile-long version at the Stonewall 25th anniversary parade in 1994 after the image had traveled the world.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's coalition of three socially progressive parties is seeking to implement a reform plan to advance rights for women and sexual minorities. Among other initiatives, it has launched a campaign to decriminalize doctors promoting abortion services, legalize the sale of cannabis for recreational use and lift restrictions on dual citizenship.
Scholz is also pushing to repeal a 40-year-old law that requires transgender people to undergo a psychological evaluation and a court decision before officially changing their gender, and replace it with a self-perception criterion, as is the case in countries such as Argentina.
Germany only greenlighted same-sex marriage in 2017, almost a decade after most European countries such as Spain, the Netherlands, and Portugal. Former Chancellor Angela Merkel opposed the idea saying that her administration had worked to give all possible rights to LGBT+ people but that Germany's Fundamental Law was clear that marriage was one man and one woman.
Faeser also spoke Thursday about a serious terrorist threat following investigations into possible bombings by radical groups who deny the coronavirus crisis and are united by a boundless hatred of democracy, the state, and people who stand up for the community. She also mentioned plans to kidnap Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach.
We are confronting this threat with all the consistency required by the rule of law, she said.