Vienna to keep its ‘gay traffic lights’

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Vienna has decided to keep its gay-themed traffic lights after Eurovision – despite right-wing protests.

The pedestrian lights – featuring gay couples holding hand in place of the usual stick figures – have proved so popular, city councilwoman Maria Vassilakou has promised they will remain in place.

A Facebook page calling for them to stay  has 20,000 likes. They were intended to celebrate the Eurovision Song Contest coming to Vienna, along with other gay-friendly events.

The lights also appear to feature straight couples holding hands.

A spokesperson for the city told Reuters the move was designed to “present Vienna as an open-minded city” as well as improve traffic safety, by attracting attention of pedestrians and drivers

However not everyone is a fan – the right-wing Austrian Freedom party have said they will make a criminal complaint about Ms Vassilakou over the lights. They say they a waste of public money and violate traffic regulations.

Graham Norton bemoaned that it would be a “quite straight” year for the contest, saying: “I think it’s going to be quite a straight contest… there are lots and lots of ballads this year. There aren’t that many upbeat songs.”

Vienna is not the first host city to use Eurovision as a gay rights platform – last year Copenhagen performed a number of mass weddings to mark the contest.

A string of brave Russian same-sex couples were among those who took the opportunity to marry in the city.