Australia: Wide calls to rename Margaret Court Arena after latest dose of her bigotry Print E-mail

 Thursday May 25 2017

Margaret Court's anti-gay rights stance deserves a boycott of its own

By Peter FitzSimons

The Margaret Court thing? Her comments that she refuses to fly Qantas anymore in protest at Qantas CEO's advocacy of same-sex marriage? Simply sad. She embarrasses herself. Her remarks are consistent with other homophobic comments she has made over the years - " To legitimize what God calls abominable sexual practices that include sodomy, reveals our ignorance as to the ills that come when society is forced to accept law that violates their very own God-given nature," – and no great surprise.

"I am disappointed that Qantas has become an active promoter for same sex marriage," Ms Court said in a letter to the editor published in The West Australian on Thursday. "I believe in marriage as a union between a man and a woman as stated in the Bible. Your statement leaves me no option but to use other airlines where possible for my extensive travelling."

Given Virgin Australia also is a promoter of Same Sex Marriage, that leaves her pretty grounded as far as I can see, which is to the good. (Still, can someone check if Greyhound Buses have a policy on this? I'll bet they are in the 21st century, too, so Ms Court might have to ban them, too?)

Meantime, though, what I'd love her to explain is how it is, if her God is so firmly against gays, why he made them in the first place? And if you're citing the bible, can you answer Dom Knight's question and explain why YOU, as a Pastor, get an exemption from 1 Timothy 2: "I do not permit a woman to teach?" Or is it OK to ignore bits that apply to you?

Margaret Court at the Australian Open arena named after her. (Vince Caligiuri)

And yes, yes, yes of course it is Ms Court's "right" to express those views. But it is equally our right to blow loud raspberries in her general direction. And one of the twitterati Phil Branagan, made an interesting point: "Using the same logic, Ms Court will surely understand if one was to boycott the stadium named in her honour due to her social intolerance . . ."

Tennis is an inclusive game, and ever more inclusive in the 21st century. Does Melbourne Park really want to have an arena named after someone who stands so firmly against such inclusiveness, who is becoming a byword for bigot?

Personally, I know of no finer person, no more generous and inclusive than Evonne Goolagong-Cawley. I run into her about once a year in airports around Australia and she is always on her way to do something to help someone. How bout the Evonne Goolagong Arena, as a name that tennis can be proud to put up in lights?

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 Friday May 26 2017

Casey Dellacqua responds on Twitter to Margaret Court's anti-gay marriage stance

Australian player Casey Dellacqua is fed up with Margaret Court's anti-gay marriage stance after her family was targeted for criticism by the tennis great.

"Margaret. Enough is enough," Dellacqua tweeted on Friday, posting a photo of a letter to the editor of The West Australian newspaper from 2013.

Calls for Margaret Court Arena to be renamed
Martina Navratilova has joined calls for Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne to be renamed after the Aussie tennis great said she would boycott Qantas due to the airline's stance on same-sex marriage.

In the letter, the 74-year-old Court laments the birth of Dellacqua's child in a same-sex relationship.

"It is with sadness that I see that this baby has seemingly been deprived of a father," Court, a Christian pastor, wrote.

Dellacqua is in France and has progressed to the doubles semi-finals of the WTA event in Strasbourg with compatriot Ashleigh Barty.She spoke out a day after Court announced she will stop using Qantas "where possible" in protest at the airline's promotion of same-sex marriage

"I am disappointed that Qantas has become an active promoter for same sex marriage," Ms Court said in a letter to the editor published in The West Australian on Thursday.

"I believe in marriage as a union between a man and a woman as stated in the Bible. Your statement leaves me no option but to use other airlines where possible for my extensive travelling.".

Returning serve: Casey Dellacqua. (Getty Images)

Meanwhile, nine-time Wimbledon winner Martina Navratilova weighed into the debate on Twitter, with the retired star delivering a carefully-aimed jibe towards Court suggesting it is time to rename Melbourne's iconic Margaret Court Arena in the wake of the furore.

On Thursday, Tennis Australia released an official statement distancing themselves from Court's opinions, "As a legend of the sport, we respect Margaret Court's achievements in tennis and her unmatched playing record," it reads.

"Her personal views are her own, and do not align with Tennis Australia's values of equality, inclusion and diversity."

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has commented on calls to change the name of Margaret Court Arena saying it should stay as it is.

"Whatever people may think about Margaret Court's views about gay marriage... she is one of the all time greats and the Margaret Court Arena celebrates Margaret Court the tennis player," he told 3AW on Friday.

"She's one of the greatest greats of tennis and that's why the arena is named after her."