‘Dangerous’ comments ‘can kill’
New Zealand Member of Parliament and former sporting star Louisa Wall is concerned at the effect Israel Folau’s ongoing condemnation of homosexuals could have on young gay people.
The 46-year-old Wall, a former Black Fern and Silver Fern who was a driving force behind the successful legalising of same-sex marriage in New Zealand, believes Folau’s views are dangerous.
Folau, the Australian rugby player who also starred in the NRL and AFL, has reiterated his views in a lengthy online article following a tweet that drew outrage when he said gay people were destined for hell ‘‘unless they repent of their sins and turn to God’’.
‘‘I’m sure he’d be distressed to know his comments can kill, and they kill because young people feel despair because [they feel] there’s something wrong with them, and they should take their own lives,’’ Wall told 1 News yesterday following Folau’s reinforcement of his beliefs.
‘‘He doesn’t really realise that what he’s said literally means to a gay person that there’s something wrong with you, and you should suffer for the rest of your life unless you repent.
‘‘He needs to reflect on his role as a public figure, and what he says and how it influences, particularly young people.’’
Folau still appears to be at odds with his rugby bosses, expressing disappointment at how Australian Rugby chief executive Raelene Castle had represented his position to the media following her meeting with him last week.
Wall believes Australia’s national rugby organisation should have taken a firmer stance given its previous support of gay rights, feeling Folau had brought the game into disrepute
‘‘I’m incredibly disappointed in his stance, because of how supportive Australian Rugby was with the marriage equality debate in Australia – especially supportive of diversity and inclusion,’’ Wall, the Labour MP for Manurewa, told 1 News.
‘‘I would have thought in their contracts, that players have clauses that they must not bring the game into disrepute.
‘‘I would have thought that saying a group of Australians, or a group of people in the world are wrong and they’re going to suffer for the rest of their lives, and using the hell analogy, has bought the game into disrepute.’’
Louisa Wall, MP for Manurewa.