In a compromise on Tuesday, the Bavarian state government admitted an unprecented number of people to its halls, including the poet Heinrich Heine.
It's modelled on the Parthenon in Athens, perched on a Bavarian hill over the town of Regensburg, and called "Walhalla" -- pompously --after the Valhalla of Norse mythology where slain warriors went to glory. Some people think of it as a low-rent German version of the French Pantheon, built to immortalize the nation's famous dead.
"I have to put on a show and deny my true identity every day." Bechtold worked for almost a year to get the athlete's story, gaining his trust and promising "a hundred times" that his name wouldn't be revealed. But there was a corollary price to pay." Merkel Says Gays Shouldn't Be Afraid to Come Out At a press conference to open the Bundesliga Integration Game Days last week, Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke out on the issue, saying athletes should not be afraid to come out in Germany.
The interview paints an unsurprisingly grim picture of life in the closet as a professional soccer player in Germany. No, he has plenty of female friends who will make appearances with him. "I'm of the opinion that every person who summons the strength and has the courage -- in politics we have a long process behind us -- should know that they live in a country where they don't actually have to be afraid," said Merkel.
The USP: Gives you the chance to tell your friends (rather than strangers) that you want to sleep with them.
Along with the poet Heinrich Heine (1797-1856), the mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1858) and a philosopher and Catholic nun named Edith Stein (1891-1942), who died at Auschwitz -- will take their places in the columned hall of fame.
Bavaria's Academy of Sciences and Humanities normally recommends one foolproof candidate for Walhalla every few years, and that hero's bust gets installed in the skull sanctuary without much political flim-flam.
So the politicians in the Bavarian cabinet agreed to a compromise: They'll admit not just Gauss in 2007, but Stein in 2008 and Heine in 2009.
Germany's foreign minister is gay and so is the mayor of Berlin, but gay players in the Bundesliga top football league remain firmly in the closet.