Anti-gay marriage rugby star Israel Folau says he ‘respects’ opinion of pro-gay teammate

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 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.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – AUGUST 08: David Pocock of the Wallabies looks on with a cut left eye during The Rugby Championship match between the Australia Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks at ANZ Stadium on August 8, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/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 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.

(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.