Rugby star Israel Folau doubles down on same-sex marriage opposition

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 22: Israel Folau of the Wallabies scores a try during the First Test match between the Australian Wallabies and the British & Irish Lions at Suncorp Stadium on June 22, 2013 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

A prominent Australian rugby star who came out against marriage equality has reiterated his opposition to the move.

Israel Folau posted to Twitter last month explaining why he will vote ‘no’ in the country’s vote on marriage rules.

The opposition comes despite his own team, Qantas Wallabies, being strongly in support of a measure to legalise same-sex marriage.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA – JUNE 01: (EDITORS NOTE: This image has been converted to black and white.) Israel Folau poses during an Australian Wallabies portrait session at Sanctuary Cove on June 1, 2014 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

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.

RELATED: Rugby legend Andrew Johns kisses teammate as he comes out for same-sex marriage

But after a period of silence on the issue, Folau has now reiterated his opposition.

Despite a backlash following the tweet, Folau has said he will “stand firm” on his opposition to equality.

“I’m going to stand firm on what I’ve said, that’s what I believe in.

“I guess it doesn’t change anything for me and my mindset is still first hand with what’s going on here with the Wallabies.

“It hasn’t really had an effect on me at all, so I stand firm on what I believe in and what I said.”

Folau’s stance is 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.

(Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

RELATED: A former Australian Prime Minister has slammed Turnbull for postal vote ‘not protecting religious freedoms’

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.

Some No campaigners have claimed that same-sex marriage will result in a ‘celebration of gay sex’ and “radical gay sex education”.

RELATED: Top Australian pollster says same-sex marriage will win ‘unless people are straight out lying’

Tony Abbott

Prime Minister Tony Abbott (Stefan Postles/Getty Images)

Ex-Prime Minister Tony Abbott and others failed in their attempt to ban rapper Macklemore from playing his same-sex anthem ‘Same Love’ at a rugby match – though some radio stations censored the song from their broadcasts.

woman who covered her house in rainbow flags and messages in support of same-sex marriage was left fearing for her life when a homophobe pelted her home with rocks.