Home > Public space > Germany > 2009-12-21 - Federal Administrative Court, n. 6 B 35/09

2009-12-21 - Federal Administrative Court, n. 6 B 35/09

Public space · Germany · Negative Freedom of religion · Public holiday

The negative religious freedom and the freedom of assembly do not go as far as to allow a dancing event on Good Friday

Key facts of the case - Art. 3 II 3 of the Bavarian Act regulating public holidays stipulates that on Good Friday public musical performances in pubs or similar places are prohibited. The plaintiff is a non-religious community that advocates the separation of State and church. It applied for a permit to host a dancing event on Good Friday, but that was rejected. It claimed that the regulation on holidays forces non-Christian people to live according to Christian rules on certain days, which the plaintiff sees as an infringement of the negative religious freedom as granted in Art. 4 of the Basic Law. Further, the plaintiff argues that the freedom of assembly (Art. 8 Basic Law) is violated since the dancing event is not permitted.

Main reasoning of the court - The Federal Administrative Court did not follow this reasoning. Art. 4 of the Basic Law is not infringed since it only protects the manifestation of religion and ideology. The Court found that hosting a dance event is no manifestation of ideology.
The right of assembly is an important basic right which can generally prevail over the regulations on public holidays. Yet, the Court does not consider the dancing event as an assembly.
Therefore Art. 3 II 3 of the Bavarian law regulating public holidays does not violate the plaintiff’s basic rights.