A young girl’s family filed a ‘gender bias’ lawsuit against an established boys’ choir and lost after a judge ruled the group’s right to freely control its artistic expression could be infringed upon if forced to admit a female singer.
The German State and Cathedral Choir was allowed to preserve a boys-only tradition it has held since its founding in 1465 by Frederick II, Prince-Elector of Brandenburg.
However, the judge did leave the ruling open to appeal, saying “the case could serve as a ‘pilot,'” according to Deutsche Welle.
“The acoustic pattern of a choir is part of its artistic freedom,” the judge said.
The 9-year-old girl had applied to join the choir in 2016 and 2018, but was rejected, according to her attorney.
“The girl’s mother had brought the complaint on her daughter’s behalf and said that the rejection was discriminatory ‘in an impermissible way,’ and infringed upon her right to equal opportunities from an institution receiving state funds,” Deutsche Welle reports.
The choir has stated the girl’s rejection was “not predominantly about her gender,” but rather because her voice did not match “the desired sound characteristics of a boys choir.”
“The case has generated heated debate across German media regarding tradition, culture, talent and musicology versus gender equality,” Deutsche Welle reports.
“Those siding with the choir argue that importance lies in the tone, not talent. Mixing the choir with females would end its traditional sound, they argue.”
At the time of this writing, a readers poll conducted by Deutsche Welle indicates that 84 percent of respondents believe choirs should be allowed to determine the genders of their members.
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