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Fox News Flash top headlines for August 16 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews. A 9-year-old girl is suing a centuries-old Berlin boys choir, arguing that her bid to join was only rejected because of her gender, in a case that has sparked debate over equal rights versus artistic freedom.
Over its years, it has never admitted any girls. The girl, whose identity was not revealed to protect her privacy, auditioned with the choir in March and was rejected, according to the Berlin administrative court that is to rule on the suit Friday. The choir contends the girl's rejection was "not predominantly about her gender" and she would have been asked to join if she had displayed extraordinary talent and motivation and "if her voice had matched the desired sound characteristics of a boys choir," the court said.
The girl's mother, who brought the complaint on her daughter's behalf, argues the choir's rejection is discriminatory "in an impermissible way" and violates her right to equal opportunities from an institution receiving state funds, the court said. The case has elicited strong feelings, with many weighing in on the side of the choir, arguing that it's less about talent than about tone, and that mixing the choir would bring an end to a traditional sound.
Writing for the influential Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, society columnist Hannah Bethke said "nobody has said girls can't sing as well. Berlin musicologist Ann-Christine Mecke told public ZDF television that the voices of the singers should be seen as instruments "with specific sound characteristics.
The difference between boys' voices and girls' voices is audible and measurable, she said. Attorney Susann Braecklein said her client, who has sung with different children's choirs in the past, applied to the choir in and and was rejected both times without being given an audition. In December, the girl was told in writing by the dean of the music faculty at the University of the Arts, of which the choir is a part, that "a girl will never sing in a boys choir," Braecklein said in a statement.