Will Gay Paraders Step on Pilgrims′ Toes? | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 08.03.2004
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Will Gay Paraders Step on Pilgrims' Toes?

The Bavarian town of Altötting, population 12,572, is one of the top Catholic pilgrimage sites in Europe. But a local politician wants the hamlet, some 90 kilometers (55 miles) east of Munich, to show the world another face. Thomas Grahammer, leader of the local Green Party, has announced plans for a Christopher Street Day parade there on June 3. The purpose of the event, in which gays and lesbians would march through the town, is to "show the people in Bavaria and the world that Altötting has another side to it than just a pilgrimage church. That it is a free city with open, enlightened citizens," Grahammer told the taz newspaper. Unfortunately, the reactions to the proposal show the town in another light. An area bishop called the planned parade a "monstrous provocation" that "mocks religous belief," and a speaker for the diocese called for the organizers of the march themselves to practice tolerance -- toward the pilgrims.