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Martina Navratilova calls out former world tennis champ over anti-gay marriage crusade

Nick Duffy May 25, 2017
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Out tennis champ Martina Navratilova has condemned another player who is ‘boycotting’ an airline over its support for same-sex marriage.

Margaret Court, a former world number one tennis star, stirred controversy today by announcing a ‘boycott’ of Qantas Airways because of the airline’s support for same-sex marriage.

In a letter to gay Qantas boss Alan Joyce she wrote: “I am disappointed that Qantas has become an active promoter for same-sex marriage. 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.”

Margaret Court

Joyce has been personally victimised by right-wing government ministers and anti-LGBT groups over his company’s support for same-sex marriage. He was the victim of a homophobic pie attack as a result of continued focus on his pro-LGBT stance.

One of the world’s best-known tennis players, Martina Navratilova, called out Court’s comments.

The retired Czech-American player, who married longtime girlfriend Julia Lemigova after proposing at the US Open, said Court’s comments had gone “too far”.

She said: “Thank you Qantas for your support. And Margaret – you have gone too far. Shame on you… #wrongsideofhistory”

She added: “Margaret Court has been attacking our LGBT community for decades, this is nothing new. But still.”

Responding to a reply, the tennis legend joked: “Maybe it’s time to change the name of [Melbourne venue] the Margaret Court Arena… and I guess Margaret will be taking the boat on her next trip? :)”

Tennis Australia has declined to explicitly condemn Court’s comments.

They said: “As a legend of the sport, we respect Margaret Court’s achievements in tennis and her unmatched playing record.

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

Court and Navratilova very publicly fell out over the issue previously.

In 2011, Court sparked controversy when she said that gay people were “aggressively demanding marriage rights that are not theirs to take.”

This drew ire from her fellow tennis legends, with lesbian icon Martina Navratilova saying that Court had failed to “evolve” with the rest of society.

She was also roundly condemned by Billie Jean King, who won 39 grand slam titles.

Related topics: Australia, margaret court, Martina Navratilova, sport, tennis

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