Vienna's gay-themed traffic signals to stay permanently

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VIENNA (AP) — Vienna's gay-themed pedestrian traffic lights are here to stay.

Instead of the usual stick man, the lights show couples — a man and a woman, two women or two men. Set up recently at 47 crossings, they were to be taken down in June, after the end of several gay-friendly events.

But Vienna Councilwoman Maria Vassilakou, in charge of traffic issues, says they will now remain. State broadcaster ORF quoted her Tuesday as saying they have already achieved cult status.

The right-wing Freedom Party says it will lodge a criminal complaint against Vassilakou for allegedly contravening traffic regulations and wasting taxpayers' money at a cost of 63,000 euros ($70,000.)

But a Facebook page calling for them to be kept has gathered more than 20,000 likes.

North of the border in Germany, Munich's city council voted Tuesday to install its own traffic signals based on those in Vienna showing gay, lesbian and heterosexual couples in early July to coincide with gay-pride events in the city, the dpa news agency reported.

It has not yet been decided exactly where the estimated 50 signals will be installed, nor how long they will remain.

"This is an important signal, in the truest sense of the word, against homophobia," said Munich city council member Christian Vorlaender.

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