Rugby Star David Pocock
At 24, Rugby star David Pocock is an extraordinary young man in many ways. He is part of a family that fled the Mugabe regime, he has been WA’s young Australian of the year, and he has firm views on gay rights and gay marriage. Pocock captained the Wallabies for the first time in 2011, in a Test match against the British Barbarians at Twickenham in London.
So strongly does he support the right of all people to marry, he and partner Emma Palandri have refused to seal their relationship legally until their gay friends can do the same.
“More than 60 per cent of Australians are in favour of same-sex marriage, so it just doesn’t make sense to stop it from happening.
“For a lot of Christians, it’s a big issue and I know there’s a lot of people who don’t share the same opinion as me. It comes down to equal love. I don’t think it’s the government’s role to tell people that their love is right or wrong.”
The couple have had a wedding ceremony and describe themselves as married. But in solidarity with those excluded from marriage, they opted not to sign the documents confirming their union. Their stance echoes that of high-profile U.S. actors Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, who said they would not marry until all U.S. citizens were granted the same right.
In 2011 Pocock was named Western Australia’s Young Australian of the Year for his humanitarian and philanthropic work, particularly in helping his former countrymen in Zimbabwe. Pocock’s family fled Zimbabwe a decade ago when their farm was confiscated during Robert Mugabe’s violent land redistribution program.
“If you’re working for the freedom of a certain group of people, you’ve got to work for the freedom of all people,” he says.