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Australian cartoon depicts gay activists as Nazis

Sydneys- Australian newspaper cartoonist Bill Leak was heavily criticised on Thursday for an illustration that depicts gay and lesbian activists as Nazi soldiers.

The cartoon, which was published in The Australian newspaper on Wednesday, showed a group of jack-booted men dressed in rainbow-coloured military uniforms carrying bats, with the caption "Waffen-SSM".

The cartoon on The Australian's website. Credit: www.theaustralian.com.au

SSM stands for Same Sex Marriage while "Waffen SS" was the name of the German Nazi party's armed paramilitary wing.

The image was slammed on social media with many branding it homophobic.

David Pope, cartoonist at rival Fairfax Media, posted tweets about Richard Grune, a German artist who spent almost eight years in Nazi concentration camps for being homosexual.

"Richard Grune will be remembered long after the world has forgotten Bill Leak," Pope said.

Thousands of homosexuals were interned in concentration camps during the Nazi regime.

"History will not be kind to Bill Leak, and it will not be kind to The Australian," writer Ben McLeay said on SBS media.

"In 20 - 30 years time we will look back on these cartoons the same way we would look at people who were outraged at interracial marriage or women getting the vote."

The cartoon comes after the Australian government announced plans to hold a plebiscite on same-sex marriage early next year.

The country's main opposition Labor party has suggested it will block it in parliament, arguing that the government should simply approve same-sex marriage with a parliamentary bill.

A recent poll found that 57 per cent of Australians were in favour of gay marriage.

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