Tennis legend Margaret Court reignited controversy over her views
on homosexuality Wednesday as she defied gay protest threats by
visiting the Australian Open.
Activists have launched a Facebook campaign against the
Australian, whose 24 major singles titles are a world record, and
said they would rally at Melbourne Park against the former
player, now a church pastor.
But Court took her seat as a spectator at the event on Wednesday,
the same day that she repeated her views in an uncompromising
opinion piece published in Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper.
"Let me be clear. I believe that a person's sexuality is a
choice. In the Bible it said that homosexuality is among sins
that are works of the flesh," she wrote.
"It is not something you are born with. My concern is that we are
advocating to young people that it is OK to have these feelings."
The article said Australian morals were in "steep decline" and
Court also recounted how being caned by a nun had taught her a
"A nun at my primary school once gave me the cane and it was one
of the best lessons of my life. She could see the potential in me
long before I did."
Fellow great Martina Navratilova earlier this week slammed
Court's "outdated" views, adding her voice to a chorus of
criticism in Australia.
Gay activists are planning a protest wearing rainbow colours and
waving flags on Friday, according to press reports. Activists
have launched an online petition calling for the renaming of
Margaret Court Arena.
But protests have been low-key so far. Britain's Laura Robson
wore a rainbow hairband supporting equal rights, and Navratilova
wore rainbow colours on her sleeves during a legends doubles
match on Margaret Court Arena.
Court said she would not be budged from her views.
"To target me and the tennis is a political stunt," she was
quoted as saying by the Herald Sun. "I love (gays), I even work
with them... but what concerns me so much is the amount of hatred
that has been directed at me."