Activists troll politician who wants to ban rainbow flags… by flying one from his office
An Australian Senator has called for the “hostile” rainbow flag to be banned from government buildings – and now he just can’t get away from one.
Australian government Senator Eric Abetz made the comments after reports that the Department of Finance had marked Pride by flying the banner.
Mr Abetz, a diehard opponent of LGBT rights, argued that the only way the symbol should be allowed is if it’s flown alongside an anti-gay banner for “balance”.
He said: “There was the rainbow flag on display in the lobby which some people see as an activist flag for a particular cause in relation to an issue of whether or not we should change the legislation on marriage. Some people of course support that cause, others don’t.
“If that is allowed, then one imagines the [anti-gay] Marriage Alliance banner should be flown equally… If you allow one side of the debate, then you need to allow the other side.”
He then attempted to justify his argument by citing a declaration of war from an unrecognised micronation founded by a dissatisfied Australian.
He said: “By way of some slight humour on this issue, this particular flag, you will realise, is the flag of the Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands which declared war on Australia… of course it’s the flag of a hostile nation, if we are to believe them, having declared war on Australia.”
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Responding to his comments, LGBT activists in his constituency decided to hold a rainbow flag rally outside Abetz’ office.
Tasmanian LGBTI equality advocate, Andrew Badcock said: “The protest sent a message to Senator Abetz and the rest of the community that the Rainbow Flag symbolises safety and acceptance for LGBTI people, and there is nothing to fear from it.”
“The rainbow flag is an important image that gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, and intersex people are welcome and safe, so it’s very telling that Eric Abetz is against an image that shows government is a safe space for LGBTI Australians.”
Mr Badcock said: “Maybe it’s time to ask whether Tasmania needs a new senator who doesn’t spend so much taxpayers’ money trying to keep rights away from vulnerable minority groups, and instead looks to protect all Tasmanians.”
Abetz previously claimed people who are ‘cured’ of homosexuality should be celebrated in public.