Even in surreal realms, there are rules. And the strange world of German marksmanship just got a new one that’s all shot up with homophobia.
Dirk Winter, a mild-mannered 44-year-old beverage salesman from the western German town of Münster, stirred up a storm of bourgeois controversy last summer when he, after becoming the Schützenkönig (marksman king) of his local sport shooting club, brought his male partner, Oliver, to the coronation as his ceremonial queen.
That sat just fine with Winter’s fellow rifle-toting club members. “The entire fraternity has now said that we are fully behind it,” announced a spokesman last summer.
Warten Sie just a cotton-picking minute, cried the conservative German Association of Shooting Fraternities. After initially trying to disqualify Winter outright from national competition, the group caved somewhat to protests from German gay rights groups. Okay, the shooting king was eventually told, you can participate — so long as you leave Queen Oliver at home.
But the group didn’t stop there. To prevent any future same-sex royal brouhahas, the federation voted overwhelmingly on Sunday to henceforth ban gay members from showing up at official events with their male partners.
“The public appearance of same-sex couples is not compatible with the Christian traditions of the fraternities,” said the association in a statement after the discriminatory vote.
“There can and should be gay kings in the future too,” an association spokesman offered in an attempt to backpedal, “but then please with a [female] queen by his side.”
Germany’s Lesbian & Gay Federation responded with a statement that called the vote what it was: a “provincial farce” that made the association appear “ridiculous.”
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