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Israel Folau and Rugby Australia headed for court over anti-gay row

Lydia Smith June 28, 2019
Israel Folau posted messages claiming "hell awaits" gay people.

Israel Folau posted messages claiming "hell awaits" gay people in April. (Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty)

Rugby player Israel Folau is set to take his unfair dismissal case to court after failing to reach a settlement with Rugby Australia.

Folau’s contract was ended in May after the evangelical Christian told gay people that “hell awaits” them on social media.

On Instagram, he posted a meme which issued a “warning” to “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters” that “HELL AWAITS YOU.”

Next to the message, which ends: “REPENT! ONLY JESUS SAVES,” Folau wrote: “Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent.

“Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him.”

Both Folau and Rugby Australia have said they are “disappointed” that no settlement was reached.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 21: Israel Folau of the Wallabies is tackled during the Bledisloe Cup match between the Australian Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks at Suncorp Stadium on October 21, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
Israel Folau’s contract was ended in May after the evangelical Christian told gay people that “hell awaits” them on social media (Getty)

Rugby Australia and the NSW Rugby Union issued a joint statement, which said: “Rugby Australia and NSW Rugby Union are incredibly disappointed that the Fair Work conciliation has been unsuccessful and did not reach a resolution.

“We remain confident in our processes and will continue to do what is required to defend the values that underpin our game.”

Folau, who believes his dismissal amounts to religious discrimination, said: “Very, very disappointed by the outcome today.

“I’d like to thank those who’ve supported me throughout this time. I’ll continue to stand up for the freedoms of all Australians.”

The case is now expected to head to the Federal Court.

Folau, who was on a Aus$1 million-a year, four-year contract, is reportedly seeking Aus$10 million.

More: Australia, israel folau, religious, Rugby, Rugby Australia, sports

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