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Australian cartoonist Bill Leak slammed for depicting LGBT activists as Nazi soldiers

Newspaper "The Australian" has published a Bill Leak illustration showing goose-stepping gay rights activists, suggesting similarities with the Nazi SS. Australia will hold a same sex marriage referendum next year.

The cartoon showed a group of men dressed in military-style clothing with rainbow-colored shirts. A caption underneath the picture said, "Waffen SSM," a reference both to the "Waffen SS" - the name for the Nazi party's armed wing - and to the acronym SSM commonly used in Australia for "same sex marriage."

Leak's image was slammed by critics on social media. On Twitter, illustrator David Pope posted several pictures of Richard Grune, a German artist who spent eight years in a Nazi concentration camp.

Gay rights activist Margot Fink also commented.

Cartoonist Bill Leak, who works for Rupert Murdoch's "The Australian," is no stranger to controversy.

A Twitter account claimed that the cartoon was actually trying to show the absurdity of the discussion on gay marriages in Australia, where the government is planning to hold a plebiscite on the issue next year.

The opposition Labor Party has said it will block the proposal in parliament, arguing that the bill should be simply approved in parliament. Recent surveys show that nearly 60 percent of Australians support homosexual marriages.

mg/msh (dpa)

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