The first openly gay NRL player has successfully pushed for the league to throw its support behind the “yes” campaign for marriage equality.

Ian Roberts, who in 1995 became the first rugby player to come out, wrote to NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg about the issue, Gay Star News has reported.

In an email to Greenberg, the retired player urged the NRL to publicly support the yes campaign.

On Friday, Roberts received a call confirming that the league would do just that.

“I’ve never felt so proud about our game,” said Roberts.

“This will save lives.

“This is a moment in time that will be remembered forever.”

The NRL came out in support of marriage equality two years ago, and now have put their support behind the yes campaign for the upcoming postal vote.

Roberts said that the NRL has come a long way in terms of acceptance since his own coming out.

“Rugby league has been so strong in breaking down barriers and raising awareness about many issues, whether it’s to do with Indigenous Australians or domestic violence against women,” he said.

“It’s about saving lives because that’s the power our game has.

“I feel so proud for the game.

“It’s a huge thing and I can’t thank the NRL enough.”

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