Anti-gay marriage rugby star Israel Folau says he ‘respects’ opinion of pro-gay teammate
A prominent Australian rugby star who came out against marriage equality and later reiterated his opposition to the move, has said he “respects” the opinion of a teammate.
Israel Folau posted to Twitter last month explaining why he will vote ‘no’ in the country’s vote on marriage rules.
The opposition came despite his own team, Qantas Wallabies, being strongly in support of a measure to legalise same-sex marriage.
Folau wrote of his stance: “I love and respect all people for who they are and their opinions. but personally, I will not support gay marriage,” and the message was followed by peace, heart and prayer signs.
But after a period of silence on the issue, Folau later reiterated his opposition.
Despite a backlash following the tweet, Folau has said he will “stand firm” on his opposition to equality.
He has now said he has spoken to teammate David Pocock, who is a strong advocate of same-sex marriage.
“I’ve spoken to Dave briefly during that week,” Folau said.
“We both respect each other and it was nice for me to hear a message from Dave.
“Outside of that I respect everyone’s opinions. But for me, Dave’s a team-mate of mine and I really enjoy playing alongside him.
“Those things aside, it’s not judgemental or anything, it doesn’t affect me. Everything is all good from my end.”
He also reiterated his opposition, saying he has no regrets about speaking out against same-sex marriage.
“No, definitely not,” he said.
“I stand alongside what I said on that time and I’ve left it there. I stay true to myself and what I believe in.
“I thought about all the things that could happen afterwards, and that’s fine for me, I respect everyone and everyone’s opinions which is all good.”
Folau’s stance is also at odds with comments from Wallabies captain, Michael Hooper.
“For a lot of guys, they’re about footy and our job is rugby, but sport has ability to cross boundaries,” Hooper last month said in an interview with The Canberra Times.
“We’re all very supportive of the ‘yes’ campaign and this is the approach we’ve taken.”
The team has also changed its colours to rainbow in order to support the ‘yes’ vote in the Australian plebiscite.
The first-of-its-kind postal ballot is now underway, with the first ballots mailed out by the Australian Bureau of Statistics Tuesday.
The public vote, which is non-binding and advisory in nature, has no legal power – but the result will likely be taken into consideration by the country’s lawmakers.
Excluding Don’t Knows, it appears as though there’s a 65 per cent support for Yes.
As predicted in advance by those wanting parliament to pass a same-sex marriage law without a public vote, the issue has proved divisive in Australian society.
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