God’s plan for gay people is “hell,” Folau says
High profile Tongan rugby star Israel Folau has found himself in hot waters once more with the gay community.
This time, Folau who is married to Kiwi/Samoan netball star, Maria Tutaia, has earned the wrath of the gay community with a social media comment condemning gay people to "hell".
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Folau’s latest jab at the gay community comes six months after tweeting his opposition to same sex marriage in Australia.
Folau is reported to have posted on Instagram that God's plan for gay people was "HELL... Unless they repent of their sins and turn to God".
The dual international, who has 337,000 followers on Instagram, made the comment in reply to a question from another user on Tuesday, Folau's 29th birthday.
"@izzyfolau what was gods [sic] plan for gay people??" user Mike Sephton-Poultney said.
"@mike_sephton HELL... Unless they repent of their sins and turn to God," Folau replied.
The exchange was picked up and shared on Twitter before going viral around the world. A Rugby Australia spokesman said Folau had deleted the comment, although it was still visible on part of Folau's profile.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that it appears to be in contravention of Rugby Australia's inclusion policy, which was adopted in 2014 and states: "Rugby has and must continue to be a sport where players, officials, volunteers, supporters and administrators have the right and freedom to participate regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race or religion and without fear of exclusion. There is no place for homophobia or any form of discrimination in our game and our actions and words both on and off the field must reflect this."
The RA spokesman said Folau's comments did not "reflect the views of Rugby Australia".
"We support all forms of inclusion whether it's sexuality, race or gender," he said.
Sydney's first gay and inclusive rugby club the Convicts said the comment was disappointing.
"Disappointing to see these comments from Israel but his statements do not reflect Rugby Unions [sic] attitude to gay people. @qantaswallabies @NSWWaratahs @pocockdavid and more are all allies of ours and our community," the Convicts said on Twitter.
Folau is a devout Christian and spoke up about his views in the lead up to the marriage equality survey last year, tweeting: "I love and respect all people for who they are and their opinions. but personally, I will not support gay marriage."