Israel Folau, who said ‘hell awaits’ gay people, gloats that he’s ‘looking forward’ to stricter religious freedom laws
Following a settlement with his former employer Rugby Australia, disgraced play Israel Folau who said “hell awaits” gay people has announced that he is “looking forward” to stricter religious freedom laws in Australia.
The former Australian rugby star reached an undisclosed settlement with Rugby Australia and his former team the New South Wales Waratahs on Wednesday, 4 December, bringing to an end his $14 million wrongful dismissal lawsuit.
He even received an apology, despite having doubled down on his anti-gay rhetoric since his original comments by claiming that bushfires devastating Australia are “God’s judgment” for same-sex marriage.
Announcing the settlement, Rugby Australia apologised to Folau for “harm caused” – while the rugby star opted to apologise for any harm “to the game of rugby” without addressing the impact of his comments on young LGBT+ people.
Folau posted a video to his website alongside his wife, Maria, to say that he was “extremely pleased” with the settlement.
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He said: “We’re extremely please with the settlement reached today and with today’s acknowledgement and apology by Rugby Australia.
“We have been vindicated and can now move on with our lives to focus on our faith and our family… We started this journey on behalf of all people of faith to protect their rights of freedom of speech and religion.
“We now look forward to the federal government enacting the legislation necessary to further protect and strengthen these rights for all Australians.”
The religious freedom law backed by Israel Folau could be implemented next year
According to The Australian, religious freedom federal law is in the works which would prevent companies from firing employees if they share “controversial” religious views outside of work, unless they can prove it is necessary to avoid significant losses for the business.
Prime minister Scott Morrison recently announced that he would be delaying the introduction of the legislation to Federal Parliament until next year.
Equality Australia CEO Anna Brown told ABC News that she welcomes the delay, and added that the law needs to be redrafted.
Brown said: “Clearly it doesn’t strike the right balance and hands a licence to discriminate to religious institutions and interests, and winds back equality for LGBTI people and women and people with disabilities.”