‘No’ campaigner Folau got married on SSM day
WALLABIES star Israel Folau tied the knot with Kiwi netballer Maria Tutaia in a secret ceremony in Kangaroo Valley yesterday.
In an awkward coincidence, the trans-Tasman sporting nuptials occurred on the same day as Australia voted in favour of marriage equality - a law change that Folau publicly opposed.
Folau withdrew from the current Wallabies tour to Japan and Europe in order for a rest and said last month he and Tutaia were not planning to use the break to finally get married.
That was a smokescreen for the private ceremony in the NSW southern highlands, which was held in front of a small group of family and friends.
The wedding came just hours after the results of the postal survey into marriage equality was announced, in which 61.6 per cent of respondents said "yes" to changing the legal definition of marriage.
Folau wasn't one of them, after tweeting in September that he didn't agree with same sex marriage.
The strongly religious former NRL and AFL player faced an online backlash for his stance but said last month he had no regrets about expressing his opinion.
"I stand alongside what I said on that time and I've left it there. I stay true to myself and what I believe in," Folau told media.
"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, who was this week nominated as one of five contenders for World Rugby's player of the year, has been with Tutaia for two years.
Tutaia is a New Zealand netball star and is based across the Tasman.
The pair have negotiated a long-distance relationship and Folau said recently he would sometimes fly to New Zealand for less than a day to be with his fiancee.