A leading Australian rugby player and committed Christian, David Pocock, has come out in support of marriage equality, saying he and his female partner will not marry until their gay friends can.

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.”

In an interview in the New Zealand Herald at the weekend, Pocock, who is a flanker in the Australian national rugby team, the Wallabies, and is regarded as one of the toughest rugby players in the world, said he didn’t see what the big deal was with the 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,” Pocock said.

“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.

Last month Australia’s leading axeman, David Foster, who describes himself as “an old-fashioned bushie”, surprised many by declaring his support for marriage equality.

Foster, whose daughter is in a same-sex relationship and is raising a child, said like any father, he wants to be able to walk his daughter down the aisle.

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