Margaret Court
Margaret Court

Demonstrations are planned as a backlash to Margaret Court’s homophobic remarks.

Dr Kerryn Phelps has urged gay rights activists to join in the protest at the Australian Open in response to former Grand Slam champion Margaret Court’s comments against same-sex marriage. Phelps also suggested it was time to rename the Margaret Court arena, saying that Court’s comments vilified gays and lesbians. Protest coordinator Doug Pollard has urged people to wear rainbow colours to the event each day.

According to comments in the Herald Sun Pollard says. “We are not asking for a lot of noise. We just want to say that we don’t agree with all the lies Margaret Court has been peddling. People think that she has got away with it for too long and have heard enough of her trading in on her tennis halo.” Court recently earned the ire of the LGBTQI community and that of other former tennis champs such as Martina Navratilova after being asked to comment on the Labor party’s recent endorsement of marriage equality at their annual conference.

Court, a tennis champ as well as a minister, said, “To dismantle this sole definition of marriage and try to legitimise 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 of what is right and what is wrong. The fact that the homosexual cry is, ‘We can’t help it as we were born this way’, as the cause behind their own personal choice is cause for concern…every action begins with a thought. There is a choice to be made.”

Court was ranked world number one for many years and dominated the world of tennis during the 1960s and 70s. Now 69, she is a minister at the Victory Life Church in Perth.

Tennis Australia said yesterday it did not support Court’s views. “Margaret has expressed a personal view,” tournament director Craig Tiley said. “Tennis Australia does not share that view and believes everyone should be treated equally and fairly.”