The day that everyone has been hearing about seemingly all year finally came yesterday when Israel Folau officially launched his legal action against Rugby Australia.
He’s fighting the national rugby body over unfair dismissal after he was sacked from the Wallabies for posting a homophobic picture on his Instagram and refused to take it down.
The picture said that homosexuals, along with other sinners like drunks and fornicators, were going to hell if they didn’t change their ways.
Credit: Israel Folau/Instagram
Folau included a bible passage in the caption, which was the source for the picture, but interestingly that passage doesn’t contain anything about gay people. All it talks about is sexual immorality, which can apply to people of any sexual orientation.
The star rugby player lodged his claim at the Federal Circuit Court in Melbourne yesterday which states he wants a formal apology from Rugby Australia, financial compensation and the right to keep playing rugby at a national level.
His legal team will argue that his Instagram is in no way tied to his professional career and therefore it shouldn’t be used as a source to sack him.
The unfair termination claim says: “His form and natural talent suggests he would continue to be a star player for both teams.
“He did this because of his religious faith, which goes to the very essence of his personhood. There was nothing unlawful about his conduct, which was a manifestation of his religion and consistent with his freedom of religious expression.
“It certainly did not justify Mr Folau losing his career and livelihood. Instead, the respondents did precisely that, and terminated the Player Contract. As a result, Mr Folau is no longer able to play elite rugby in or for Australia again.”
The Australian reports Folau’s legal team will be zeroing in on the section of the Fair Work Act, which states a person can’t be dismissed for their religion.
Rugby Australia is understood to be sticking to its guns and saying that the Instagram post was a direct contravention of his contract and his refusal to take it down meant they had no other choice but to terminate his contract.
All eyes will be on how the proceedings handle this touchy subject as Australian politicians are drafting a Religious Freedoms bill that they hope would prevent something like this happening to any other Aussie.