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Australian Official Fined After Comparing Rainbow Flag to ISIS Symbol

Daniel Comensoli photo via Facebook
Daniel Comensoli photo via Facebook

A court ordered Sydney elected official Julie Passas to pay $2,500 and issue a public apology.

An Australian politician who compared a neighbor's rainbow flag to ISIS propaganda must pay a hefty $2,500 fine for "homosexual vilification."

Australia's Civil and Administrative Tribunal upheld a complaint filed against Julie Passas, a Liberal Councillor of Sydney's Inner West Council, after the official demanded a neighbor take down the flag, reports Australia'sABC News.

A dispute broke out in 2017 between Passas and Daniel Comensoli after he flew the flag in celebration of a nationwide vote in favor of marriage equality.

Comensoli said Passas accosted him about the flag about being "offensive to my culture and religion."

He shared his account on Facebook at the time.

"I was confronted outside my home by my neighbor Julie Passas, who also happens to be the Deputy Mayor of the Inner West Council," he wrote. "She demanded that I remove the flag because it was offensive to her culture and religion."

"After standing my ground and telling her that I would not take it down, Passas shouted for the whole apartment complex to hear that only 'until [I] could breastfeed and have children', should I be afforded the right to marry," he continued.

Police spoke to Passas and reported she said the flag was "as offensive as the flag of ISIS." Passas told the court she made the comparison as an analogy, and did not believe the flag was similar to the ISIS symbol.

She maintained to the tribunal that Comensoli had made up details to turn the dispute into a gay issue, and that her problem related to local restrictions barring hanging flags from balconies. But she did say she found the flag offensive.

Comensoli has since moved. He sought $10,000 in compensation from Passas for "unlawful homosexual vilification." The tribunal awarded about a quarter of that.

The court also required Passas to issue an apology in the local newspaper calling the marriage equality vote an historic day and admitting she "publicly yelled abuse at Mr Comensoli."

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