Girl won’t be allowed to sing with prestigious German boys’ choir as legal bid fails

Girl won't be allowed to sing with prestigious German boys' choir as legal bid fails

File photo © Global Look Press

A girl who tried to become the first female member of a 554-year old Berlin boys’ choir has lost her gender discrimination case after a court ruled that the choir had not been sexist when it rejected her application.

The State and Cathedral Choir of Berlin has never admitted any women since it was founded in 1465 by Prince-Elector Frederick II of Brandenburg. It has been allowed to continue that record after a court ruled in its favor on Friday.

The child’s mother sued the prestigious choir on grounds of gender bias, saying her rejection was discriminatory and, because the choir receives public funding, was in contravention of German equal opportunity laws.

However, the judge ruled in favor of Berlin’s oldest choir, with the group’s right to artistic freedom proving decisive. “The acoustic pattern of a choir is part of its artistic freedom,” the judge said, DW reports.

During the case, the choir held that the rejection was “not predominantly about her gender” and said that she would have been admitted had her voice “matched the desired sound characteristics of a boys’ choir.” It also raised questions about its ability to work with the girl’s parents.

The court found sufficient evidence of a “boys’ choir sound,” however, it did leave the possibility to appeal open, saying the case could serve as a “pilot.”

The girl’s lawyers allege that she was told in writing by the dean of the music faculty at Berlin’s University of the Arts that “a girl will never sing in a boys’ choir.”

The case sparked a heated debate in Germany about artistic expression and gender equality.

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