A gay Australian couple who have been together for 30 years have “tied the knot” in an unofficial ceremony outside of Margaret Court Arena to protest the homophobic tennis player.
Ron Van Houwelingen and Antony McManus staged the technically illegal ceremony over the weekend in a move to fight against the Margaret Court’s recent homophobic and transphobic comments.
She also announced that she was boycotting Qantas because of the company’s support for same-sex marriage.
She also compared LGBT activists to Adolf Hitler, said that transgender children had been influenced by the Devil and claimed that being a survivor of sexual abuse makes you gay.
The founder of the LGBT organisation DIY Rainbow, James Brechney, “officiated” the wedding between McManus and Van Houwelingen.
Talking to The Age, the couple explained why they decided to stage the defiant but beautiful act.
“Obviously, we find Margaret Court’s statements abhorrent,” Van Houwelingen said.
“We believe that giving [Margaret Court] a platform for her hate speech is not acceptable given her status, so we’re sending her a message of love.”
Van Houwelingen added that the pair had been together for three decades and that they had wanted to get married a long time ago, and they believe they should not be prevented from doing this by the Australian government.
“Antony and I have been together 30 years this September and we believe that we should have the right to have our love sanctioned before the state.”
Brechney added that the “wedding” was important to mark the end of Pride month and push the truth of same-sex relationships on homophobes like Court.
“It’s the end of Pride Month now so it’s really important to get out and make people like Margaret Court understand that we’re proud to be who we are and all we’re asking for is equality.
“She’s boycotted Qantas and she’s speaking at fundraisers and she’s lobbying John Howard and doing all sorts of things. She’s not going anywhere, and we just want to make it really clear we’re not going anywhere either.
“We made Margaret Court Arena fabulous for a Saturday afternoon,” he added.