Australian rugby star David Pocock has said that he and his girlfriend will not marry until gays and lesbians can also do so in his country.
Pocock, who is a committed Christian, is a flanker in the Australian national rugby team, the Wallabies, which beat South Africa in the World Cup semi-final on the weekend.
In an interview with the New Zealand Herald, Pocock, said:
“I don’t see what the big deal is with the whole gay marriage debate in Australia.
“Being brought up in a Christian home and still identifying as Christian, I get pretty annoyed with the Christian lobbies around the world who say gay marriage destroys the family and all that kind of rubbish.
“They claim to follow someone who always stood up for the oppressed and marginalised.
“I guess it is a fear of the unknown – if you talk to someone who doesn’t like gay people you can almost guarantee that they don’t know too many.
“These are the prejudices that you have to challenge and break down. Emma and I decided not to get legally married until our gay friends could do the same,” said Pocock.
Australian Marriage Equality National Convener, Alex Greenwich, welcomed Pocock’s statement, saying it shows support for the issue is increasingly widespread in all sections of Australian society.
“David Pocock’s strong support for equality will have a dramatic impact in a sports-mad nation like Australia”, Greenwich said.
“David’s stance also sends out the message that marriage equality is a reform Christians can and should support.”
Same-sex marriage is still not legal in Australia, although same-sex couples receive many of the same benefits as married couples. At the federal level, marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman by the Marriage Amendment Act of 2004.