Australian rugby star fights back after being ousted from his sport for offending gays

Israel Folau is seeking 'substantial remedies' in legal action for religious discrimination.
Fri Jun 7, 2019 - 6:41 pm EST
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David Malloy via Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

MELBOURNE, Australia, June 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Committed Christian and Australian rugby star Israel Folau is claiming before Australia’s Fair Work Commission that he was dismissed by his team because of his religion.

Lawyers for the former Wallabies standout confirmed Thursday that they filed papers against  Rugby Australia and the New South Wales Waratahs for breach of contract. Folau, a 30-year-old fullback, is seeking “substantial remedies” from his former employers, arguing that his termination was unlawful, according to Section 772 of the Fair Work Act that forbids discrimination on the basis of religion.

“No Australian of any faith should be fired for practising their religion,” Folau said in a statement.

"The termination has cost Mr. Folau the best years of his rugby career,” his lawyers stated in the filing, “participation at the Rugby World Cup, the chance to become the greatest Wallaby try-scorer (a decades-old record he was likely to break), and the associated exposure and opportunities."

The filing goes on to say, "As well as around $5 million in lost salary, Mr. Folau will claim in respect of the loss of these opportunities (renewal of contract, sponsorships, etc). The damages will be particularised in due course, but will be substantial. In addition, Mr. Folau will seek civil penalties.”

“I will forever be grateful and proud to have played the sport I love for our nation,” Folau said. “Ours is an amazing country built on important principles, including freedom of religion. A nation made up of so many different faiths and cultural backgrounds will never be truly rich unless this freedom applies to all of us. The messages of support we have received over these difficult few weeks have made me realise there are many Australians who feel their fundamental rights are being steadily eroded.”

Folau was the focus of LGBTQ outrage and a disgruntled rugby establishment in Australia when he posted Scriptural condemnations of homosexuality and other perversions. In an April post on Instagram, Folau used an image that listed "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters. Hell awaits you." He added, “Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him.”

His contract was terminated in May after a ruling from a three-member panel, thus making his ineligible to participate in this year’s Rugby World Cup matches.


Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him. _______________ Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these , adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-‬21 KJV _______________ Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38 KJV _______________ And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Acts 17:30 KJV _______________

A post shared by Israel Folau (@izzyfolau) on

When Rugby Australia ruled that he violated its code of conduct, he lost not only a contract that was expected to run until 2022 but lucrative sponsorship deals with companies such as Land Rover and Asics.

He decided not to appeal the decision, saying he was considering court action.

Whether Folau is allowed to play Australian rugby again may be in doubt. Chairman Peter Beattie of the Australian Rugby League Commission reaffirmed the National Rugby League’s view that Folau is banned for good because rugby is “an inclusive game with respect for all.”

Folau had been expected to join his teammates at the Rugby World Cup in Japan this year.

  australia, australia fair work commission, bible, fair work act, israel folau, lawsuit, lgbtq, religious discrimination, religious freedom, rugby australia, scripture

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