Pic: Gayfriendly Vienna
Right-wing politicians in Linz have won their bid to remove the Austrian city’s gay-themed pedestrian traffic lights from intersections.
The crossing signals, which depict male and female same-sex couples, were first adopted in Vienna in May to welcome LGBT visitors attending the Eurovision Song Contest, which the city was hosting.
Intended to promote tolerance, at least two other cities in the country, including Linz, also installed similar gay traffic lights.
The idea was, however, opposed by right-wing politicians from the start. Now, Linz’ recently elected Transport Councillor, Markus Hein of the Freedom Party (FPO), has ordered the signals pulled down.
“Traffic lights are for traffic and should not be misused to impart advice on how to live your life,” Hein told the Kurier website, reported the BBC.
He added that because gay rights were already well advanced in Austria, the signals were “completely unnecessary”.
Green Party Councillor Severin Mayr criticised the move, and countered that Linz was going backwards compared to other cities that put up the signs in order “to promote openness and peaceful coexistence”.
The far-right FPO has made major gains among the electorate in Austria, boosted by the public’s fears over the recent wave of refugees fleeing into Europe.
While same-sex registered partnerships and full joint co-adoption is legal in Austria, same-sex marriage is still not allowed.