Tennis legend boycotts airline because of its support for same-sex marriage
Margaret Court, an Australian tennis legend, has said she will boycott Qantas Airways because of the airline’s support for same-sex marriage.
The sporting icon, who is the only tennis player to have won more single Grand Slams than Serena Williams – with whom she is pictured above – made the announcement in a letter to The West Australian newspaper this morning.
Court, who has one of three main show courts used at the Australian Open grand slam named after her, wrote directly to Alan Joyce, the gay chief executive of Qantas.
Joyce received a pie in the face earlier this month because of his support for same-sex marriage in Australia, where the right has still not been legalised.
The former number one tennis player in the world, writing “as the Senior Pastor of Victory Life Church in Perth,” firstly outlined her credentials for opposing equal marriage.
“I have represented Australia many times and have the proud record of never losing a tennis match while playing for my country,” the 24-time grand slam singles champion observed.
She then told him: “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.”
Court added that she has been “proud” to fly Qantas in the past, “but unfortunately no more.
“I love all people,” she added confusingly, “and will be pleased to talk to your board at any time. But it won’t be in the Qantas lounge. God bless.”
In response, Tennis Australia tweeted: “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.”
The organisation has not yet responded to calls from many fans to rename Margaret Court Arena.
And boy, have there been calls.
Lots of calls.
Qantas has not yet responded to Court’s comments.
Some people have also pointed out that with Virgin Airlines having proclaimed its support of same-sex marriage back in 2015, Court may struggle to catch a flight out of the country.
— Scott Penny (@baxlex) May 25, 2017
— John Wren (@JohnWren1950) May 25, 2017
Margaret Court will struggle to fly in Australia. https://t.co/qRRJnFehet
— Josh Taylor (@joshgnosis) May 25, 2017
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 one-time rival and LGBT pioneer Billie Jean King, who won 39 grand slam titles.