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Volume 6 No. 248
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Aussie Rugby Player Israel Folau Says That He Will Not Support Gay Marriage

Australian rugby player ISRAEL FOLAU said that he "will not support gay marriage, prompting a quick response from Test teammate DAVID POCOCK" to voice his support of the "yes" campaign, according to the AAP. Two of Australian rugby's "marquee men tweeted their differing opinions" just 24 hours after the Australian Rugby Union joined football, cricket and rugby league in supporting same-sex marriage (AAP, 9/13).

STARK CONTRAST: The AAP also reported Folau "is believed to be the first high-profile sportsperson to have publicly announced their opposition to same-sex marriage." The 28-year-old was raised as a Mormon "but is now a devout Christian" after his family converted in '11. His views "are in stark contrast" to Pocock, "who has taken the year off rugby but will be back in the Test ranks alongside Folau next year." A "passionate campaigner for a variety of social issues" including homophobia and marriage equality, Pocock "famously declared four years ago that he would not tie the knot with his partner EMMA PALANDRI until gay people were legally permitted to do the same" (AAP, 9/13).

STEERING CLEAR: In Sydney, Andrew Webster reported the Australian Olympic Committee "has refused to join" other sporting organizations in backing same-sex marriage because it does "not want to offend religious groups," CEO MATT CARROLL revealed. He said, "I'm not ducking anything. I'm just saying there are two sides to this discussion and I'm respecting both sides of this discussion. People's religious views are important and they should be respected." The AOC "has been mute on the issue so far" but released a statement in which it said it "respects diversity and supports raising awareness of discrimination" but did not commit to a position. Carroll said that the AOC "was in a tough position because it represented 45 sports." He said, "We are a diverse, umbrella organization. [The CEOs of other sports] represent one sport. I cannot speak on behalf of 40 sports, right? We are an umbrella organization" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 9/13).