"We're standing with Maria; we're not standing with Israel."
New Zealand MP and former Silver Fern Louisa Wall has come out in support of under fire netball star Maria Folau, after the Silver Ferns vice-captain re-posted a controversial online fundraising campaign launched by her husband, former Wallabies fullback Israel Folau.
The cross-code star had his contract terminated by Rugby Australia in May over an anti-LGBT social media post and launched a GoFundMe page to raise $3million for his legal fees to fight his termination. His page was later shut down.
Folau, who has been publicly silent throughout her husband's stoush with RA, found herself in the headlines across Australia and New Zealand last week after she shared her husband's campaign on Instagram. However, she's found support from LGBT activist Wall.
Wall, who is credited for submitting the bill to legalise same-sex marriage in New Zealand, told ESPN that Folau had been found "guilty by association" and people in New Zealand were supportive of the Silver Ferns star.
"We're standing with Maria; we're not standing with Israel Folau," Wall told ESPN. "That was his tag line for his GoFundMe, 'Stand with Izzy', we're not doing that at all. I think we've been really clear that we do not support Israel's comments, but we do support Maria as a separate entity.
"I think people have been sympathetic to the dilemma that she's in. The fact that she's married to someone who's going through something, she obviously loves and supports him, but she hasn't herself or in her own capacity shared anything that anyone can interpret as homophobic."
On Saturday, Netball Australia and Netball South Australia were forced to make statements about Folau's social media use. Both organisations found Folau had not breached any social media policies and the 32-year-old would not face any sanctions.
"While Netball SA in no way endorses the reposting, we do not believe Maria has contravened our social media policy", a Netball SA statement read. While a joint statement from Netball Australia and Super Netball said simply: "There is no action required by the league".
On Tuesday, Netball New Zealand announced it also would not look to sanction Folau, and Silver Ferns coach Noeline Taurua told media she would be addressing the issue with Folau in camp.
"There is a lot of things that are happening with Maria and her husband," Taurua the media. "Our main priority is the care of Maria and the support of all our players but also not getting distracted by external issues."
Former Australia Netball star Liz Ellis was swift in her reproach of Netball Australia and their refusal to sanction the goal attack.
"Not good enough," Ellis posted on social media. "How about: There is no room for homophobia in our game.
"As much as I love watching Maria Folau play netball I do not want my sport endorsing the views of her husband."
Wall, however, believed both sporting unions had taken the right course of action and called their decision not to sanction Folau as "fair".
"Some people conflated Maria sharing that with the fact she was condoning or supporting her husband," Wall said. "I think as a wife, she was conflicted about supporting her husband. But that shouldn't be seen as her condoning and supporting homophobia.
"From our perspective now in New Zealand, I think we are looking at Maria's actions. So to have Netball Australia, South Australia Netball and Netball New Zealand come out and say she hasn't breached any social media policy, I think is fair.
"She also shouldn't be relied upon to change him and make him see the light. That's a very difficult situation to be in. This is the complication of people influencing others and unfortunately I think Maria is guilty by association."