Footballer Israel Folau has said he stands by his controversial tweet against marriage equality, which is at odds with Australian Rugby Union’s pro-equality position.

He said that he and fellow rugby player David Pocock, who is an advocate for marriage equality, have spoken and there are no hard feelings, according to News.com.au.

Folau last month tweeted, “I love and respect all people for who they are and their opinions. But personally, I will not support gay marriage.”

Pocock, who refuses to marry fiancée Emma Palandri until marriage equality passes, responded by tweeting, “When my survey arrives I’ll vote yes for justice and love.”

The two players spoke after the exchange to express mutual respect for their differing opinions.

“I’ve spoken to Dave briefly during that week,” said Folau.

“We both respect each other and it was nice for me to hear a message from Dave.

“Outside of that I respect everyone’s opinions. But for me, Dave’s a teammate of mine and I really enjoy playing alongside him.

“Those things aside, it’s not judgemental or anything, it doesn’t affect me. Everything is all good from my end.”

Asked again about his opinion on marriage equality, Folau said he stands by what he tweeted.

“I stand alongside what I said on that time and I’ve left it there,” he said.

“I stay true to myself and what I believe in.

“I thought about all the things that could happen afterwards, and that’s fine for me, I respect everyone and everyone’s opinions which is all good.”

Folau conceded that marriage equality won’t affect his relationship with fiancée Maria Tutaia.

“It hasn’t really affected me at all,” he said.

“That won’t change too much for me. I’m just really enjoying playing my rugby and life outside that.”

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