Germany OK raises rainbow flag over government buildings

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s Interior Ministry said Wednesday it has allowed the rainbow flag to be hoisted over federal government buildings on certain occasions, a move meant to end talks over rules unclear and signal acceptance of diversity.

The department said flying the rainbow flag “must be tied to a concrete date”, such as the Pride Marches or the June 28 anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall uprisings in New York that helped propel a global LGBTQ movement. There are public holidays and other days when this will not be allowed.

The ministry said that so far there have been no rules formally authorizing the flag, “which in the past has frequently led to discussion”.

“We are a modern and diverse country,” Home Secretary Nancy Faeser said in a statement. “It is high time that we as state institutions also showed this more clearly.”

“We want discrimination against people because of their sexual identity to end in all areas of society,” she added. “We want to be in solidarity with all those who still experience exclusion.”

Faeser’s move comes as Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s three-party, socially liberal coalition, which took office in December, pursues an agenda of social reform.

The government has launched a campaign to remove the ban on doctors from “advertising” abortion services from the country’s penal code. Among other things, he also wants to legalize the sale of cannabis for recreational purposes, facilitate the path to German citizenship and lift restrictions on dual citizenship.

The government also wants to repeal 40-year-old legislation that requires trans people to undergo a psychological assessment and court decision before officially changing their gender, a process that often involves intimate matters. It must be replaced by a new “law of self-determination”.

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