By Gladys Hartson - firstname.lastname@example.org
An advocate for the Pasifika LGBTQIA+ peoples, says comments made by Australian rugby player Israel Folau via social media is disappointing.
Folau replied to a comment on an Instagram post saying God's plan for gay people is "hell, unless they repent of their sins and turn to God".
Tuiloma Lina Samu says those comments are harmful for people who already deal with intolerance and rejection, based on their sexuality.
"Those words hurt and they hurt significantly especially vulnerable people who are already marginalised people, who are already rejected and ostricised by communities and families," she says.
"What we want to say to this brother is, be careful. Your words they have a lot of weight, especially with you being a well-known person and especially coming from a Christian point of view."
Tuiloma who is also the Pasifika Advisor for the Human Rights Commission, acknowledges that there will be a lot of people who will agree with Folau's comments and support his views.
"But we have to think, 'What would Jesus do?'. I think we would all agree that Jesus Christ would be a loving, kind and generous person and not condemn people, but embracing people and doing nothing but showing love."
"That's what I think is a really important message for the Pasifika community to remember. Most important is love the support of your loved ones and to help them to be who they want to be," says Tuiloma.
Israel Folau met with Australian rugby officials this week and has refused to commit to toning down his comments on social media.