Matthias Schrader / AP
Soccer stadiums across Germany will be lit up in rainbow colors during a match with Hungary on Wednesday, to protest a decision by the Union of European Football Associations denying Munich’s request to illuminate its stadium.
They also show solidarity with Hungary’s LGBTQ community after the rival country passed a law denounced by human rights groups as homophobic.
UEFA said on Tuesday it was denying a request for the Allianz Arena in the host city of Munich to display the colors during the match.
“UEFA, through its statutes, is a politically and religiously neutral organization. Given the political context of this specific request, a message pointing to a decision taken by the Hungarian national parliament, UEFA should reject this request,” he said. in a statement.
Instead, UEFA proposed alternative dates in the coming weeks when the stadium could display the colors, but not during the match itself.
But the governing body’s decision sparked a backlash. In response, clubs in Berlin, Frankfurt, Cologne, Wolfsburg and Augsburg said they would light up their stadiums anyway during Wednesday’s game. according to Euro News.
Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter called UEFA and said that despite the decision, Munich would raise rainbow flags at the city hall and illuminate a wind turbine near the stadium and the city’s Olympic Tower in the colors of the rainbow. .
“I find it shameful that UEFA prohibits us from setting an example of diversity, tolerance, respect and solidarity,” Reiter said in a statement, according to Eurosports. “I am also disappointed with the DFB [German Football Association], which, despite overwhelming approval from across the country, was not willing to position itself to influence the outcome, ”said the mayor.
Gary Lineker, sportscaster and former professional soccer player from England, encouraged Munich to defy UEFA’s order. tweeting: “Make it Munich. Make it. Turn it on for the world to see.”
The LGBTQ community has been increasingly marginalized by the right-wing government of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Human Rights Watch says.
Critics say the new law, passed last Tuesday over opposition objections, combines homosexuality and pedophilia. Among other things, it bans promoting homosexuality or gender-change surgery in minors, but the language is so vague, LGBTQ advocates say, that even displaying a rainbow flag in public could be illegal.
RTL Klub, Hungary’s largest private television station, said in a statement that movies and series dealing with modern family life could be banned as a result of the new law, the BBC reports.
The law of Hungary, a member of the European Union, has been condemned by seventeen EU governments, including Germany, France, Spain and Ireland. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement On Wednesday she “would use all the powers of the Commission to ensure that the rights of all EU citizens are guaranteed. Whoever and wherever they live within the European Union.”
On Monday, thousands of people demonstrated in Budapest’s Kossuth Square in front of the parliament to protest against the legislation, according to Deutsche Welle.
in a statement Earlier this month, Amnesty International called the passage of the law “a dark day” for the rights of people in the LGBTQ community.
“It will expose people already facing a hostile environment to even greater discrimination,” Amnesty said.