June 2, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A battle of tennis greats rages in Australia as 24-time Grand Slam singles champion Margaret Court faces off against lesbians Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King, and a growing cadre of players over homosexual “marriage” in the land Down Under.
Navratilova is calling for Margaret Court Arena, home of the Australian Open, to be renamed because of recent statements by Court defending the immutable definition of marriage.
The drama began when Court, 74, said she will avoid flying Qantas Airlines because Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, an openly “gay” man, announced his company’s support for same-sex “marriage.”
Court, founder of Victory Life Church in Perth, wrote in a letter to the editor of The West Australian, “I believe in marriage as a union between a man and a woman as stated in the Bible. Your statement leaves me no other option but to use other airlines where possible for my extensive traveling.”
She added, “I love all people and will be pleased to talk to your board at any time. But it won’t be in the Qantas lounge.”
This wasn’t the first time Court has spoken up in defense of marriage. In 2011, she explained her rationale for objecting to same-sex relationships. “No amount of legislation or political point-scoring can ever take out of the human heart the knowledge that in the beginning God created them male and female and provided each with a unique sexual function to bring forth new life.”
She continued, “To dismantle this sole definition of marriage and try 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 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.”
Navratilova fired back against Court’s recent comments with an open letter of her own. “Kids will suffer more because of this continuous bashing and stigmatising of our LGBT community.”
She didn’t stop there. “How much blood will be on Margaret's hands because kids will continue to get beaten for being different? This is not OK. Too many will die by suicide because of this kind of intolerance, this kind of bashing and yes, this kind of bullying.”
Navratilova’s assertions assign the suffering of the same-sex attracted solely to outside influences rather than acknowledging recent scientific studies that report “members of the non-heterosexual population are estimated to have about 1.5 times higher risk of experiencing anxiety disorders than members of the heterosexual population, as well as roughly double the risk of depression, 1.5 times the risk of substance abuse, and nearly 2.5 times the risk of suicide.”
Others from the world of professional tennis soon piled on.
Speaking after a match at the French Open, top-ranked men's singles player Andy Murray chimed in, “I don't see why anyone has a problem with two people who love each other getting married. If it's two men, two women, that's great. I don't see why it should matter. It's not anyone else's business.”
American Madison Keys disagrees “100 percent” with Court's comments. “I kind of agree with maybe having the [Australian Open stadium's] name changed and all of that. If that comes up, I'm sure there's many people who would be for that,” Keys said after her win Tuesday.
“It's like, 'Why can't we just be nice to each other?'” Keys said. “So frustrating.”
While few in the world of sports seem to be speaking out in support of Court, others outside the arena have come to her defense.
Rev. Franklin Graham, son of renowned evangelist Billy Graham, wrote on his Facebook page, “Although many in her sport don’t like what she has to say, [Margaret Court] isn’t afraid to speak the truth about sin. She’s in the news for saying that tennis is full of lesbians. She said as a Christian she believes in “marriage the Bible way.”
Graham continued, “Sin is a choice, but God’s Word is truth and never changes.”
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in an interview that he is against changing the stadium’s name. “Whatever people may think about Margaret Court’s views about gay marriage — and she’s entitled to have them and she’s entitled to fly on whatever airline she likes or not — you know, she is one of the all-time greats. The Margaret Court Arena celebrates Margaret Court the tennis player.”
John Cain, former premier of Victoria and a driving force behind construction of the stadium, said, “Leave the place alone, [Court’s name] is there because of her merits as a tennis player.”
He continued with an impassioned plea in the name of Australian tennis. “We have arguably the best the facility in the world and it should be celebrated by the names of the great players who made Australian tennis what it is. Margaret Court should be there. Forget about this other rubbish.
Australian doubles player Casey Dellacqua posted on her Twitter account a short opinion that Court published in 2013 after Dellacqua announced that her female partner had just given birth to a son. Court said, “It is with sadness that I see that this baby has seemingly been deprived of a father.”
Court warned that, “If we continue to dismantle the traditional family unit … we will create a fatherless generation.”