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The Allianz Arena illuminated in rainbow colours during the Bundesliga match between FC Bayern Munich and TSG Hoffenheim on Jan. 30, 2021 in Munich, Germany. Photo: Alexandra Beier/Getty Images

European soccer's governing body has rejected Munich’s application to light the city's stadium in rainbow colors on Wednesday when it hosts Germany’s European Championship game against Hungary, whose parliament just passed an anti-LGBTQ law.

Why it matters: UEFA said in a statement that it understands the intent of the lighting, but stressed that the body is "politically and religiously neutral" and called the action a "message aiming at a decision taken by the Hungarian national parliament.”

  • The Munich city council had made clear in its request it wished to send "a visible message of solidarity to the LGBT community in Hungary which is suffering under recent legislation passed by the Hungarian government."
  • Hungary's right-wing prime minister Viktor Orbán has been outspoken against immigration and LGBTQ rights, and is seeking to shore up conservative support ahead of elections next year.

The backdrop: The new Hungarian law bans sharing content with minors that features gay characters or any sort of support for the LGBTQ community. It has been widely condemned by human rights groups.

"Racism, homophobia, sexism, and all forms of discrimination are a stain on our societies – and represent one of the biggest problems faced by the game today. Discriminatory behaviour has marred both matches themselves and, outside the stadiums, the online discourse around the sport we love."
However UEFA, through its statutes, is a politically and religiously neutral organisation. Given the political context of this specific request – a message aiming at a decision taken by the Hungarian national parliament – UEFA must decline this request."
— UEFA statement

UEFA proposed instead lighting the stadium on Christopher Street Liberation Day on June 28 — which commemorates the 1969 Stonewall riots — or between July 3 and July 9, which is Christopher Street Day week in Munich.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Health

FDA authorizes mix-and-match for COVID booster shots

Photo: Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) on Wednesday gave its approval for Americans to get booster shots that are different from the COVID vaccine they initially received.

Why it matters: The recommendation from the FDA, which also authorized booster shots for people who received Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines on Wednesday, paves the way for an expansion of booster shots.

GOP congressman forfeits committee seats after indictment

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) on Wednesday stepped down from his committee assignments after being indicted for lying to federal investigators amid a probe into illegal campaign donations.

What they're saying: In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Fortenberry said he is "grateful for the outpouring of support from my friends and colleagues as we work against the injustice confronting me."

Rahm Emanuel questioned on murder of Laquan McDonald in confirmation hearing

Rahm Emanuel during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on Oct. 20. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke about the murder of Laquan McDonald during his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday to become the U.S. ambassador to Japan, saying that "there's not a day or a week that has gone by in the last seven years I haven't thought about this."

Catch up quick: McDonald was a Black teenager who was fatally shot 16 times by Chicago police during Emanuel's tenure as the city's mayor. The 2014 shooting triggered massive protests, both because of its nature and the fact that the officers' body-cam footage was concealed for years.