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National Rugby League publicly supports same-sex marriage as Australia votes

A plea from Ian Roberts spurred rugby to back gay marriage.

Ian Roberts of the Sea Eagles
Ian Roberts played for the Manly Sea Eagles in 1995.
Photo by Getty Images

Openly gay former professional rugby player Ian Roberts wanted the sports world to take a position on Australia’s same-sex marriage vote, which commences this week. So he penned a letter to Todd Greenberg, the head of the National Rugby League, asking him and the league to vocally support marriage equality.

Late last week he got news that the league would follow his lead and support the “Yes” vote for same-sex marriage. They publicly announced the support over the weekend.

“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,” Roberts told The Daily Telegraph. “It’s about saving lives because that’s the power our game has.

According to The Australian, various other professional sports leagues have either already leant their support or are planning to, including Cricket Australia, Football Federation Australia, Australian Rugby Union and the AFL.

Voting opens on Sept. 12 and runs through late October.